• keep him at bay

    keep a distance from him


keep someone at bay = jmdn. fernhalten, jmdn. im Schach halten --- GOOGLE INDEX (keep him) at bay: approximately 3,300,000 Google hits


In the press

Rain Clouds KEEP Tourists AT BAY

(Financial Times headline)

He said success would come when NATO forces were able to leave the country once a professional Afghan security force was in place and capable of KEEPING the Taliban AT BAY.

(The Guardian Online)

Did you know?

keep someone/something at bay

- to prevent someone or something unpleasant from harming you

(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

This idiom originally came from hunting, where it describes an animal that has been driven back or into a corner and now faces chasing dogs. Its use for other situations dates from the late 1500s.

A kiss on the cheek is as French as garlic or red wine, but with the outbreak of the swine flu people are being encouraged to keep each other at bay. Businesses, schools, health authorities and government departments have all outlawed "la bise" in the belief it can spread the killer disease in seconds.

Social kissing has always been popular in France with male and female colleagues alike greeting each other with a peck on each cheek every day at work. The cafes of every town and city are full of people exchanging kisses all hours of the day and night.

France’s health ministry is urging people to avoid the popular ritual while experts also recommend that they avoid other kinds of direct contact, including shaking hands. Officials are recommending that people should keep a "three-foot buffer zone" between themselves and others or wear a facemask.

(from the UK Daily Express newspaper)


maintain a distance, keep to yourself, stay away, keep in check


"Try to keep him at bay until the guests have left, I'm afraid he will say the wrong thing."

Thanks to Volker for suggesting today's word!

A Friend in Need, is a Friend Indeed:

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