Definition 2023


keep on



keep on (third-person singular simple present keeps on, present participle keeping on, simple past and past participle kept on)

  1. (transitive, idiomatic) To persist or continue.
    Keep on trucking!
    Mum, Jimmy keeps on poking me!
    • 1900, Charles W. Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars, Chapter I,
      The young woman kept on down Front Street, Warwick maintaining his distance a few rods behind her.
  2. (intransitive, idiomatic) To persist in talking about a subject to the annoyance of the listener.
    For goodness sake, will you stop keeping on about it!
  3. (transitive, idiomatic) To cause or allow to remain in an existing position.
    The new boss would like to keep on the present secretary.
    • 2010, Brian Glanville, The Story of the World Cup: The Essential Companion to South Africa 2010, London: Faber and Faber, ISBN 9780571236053, page 361:
      The charge against Zagallo then is not so much that he started Ronaldo, but that when it should surely have been clear that the player was in no fit state to take part he kept him on.