For keeps


      • to keep something permanently
        To indicate that something will not be given or taken away, but rather will remain in possession or ownership of the current holder indefinitely

      • to win or gain something
        To express the finality or permanence of an achievement or victory, often used in reference to a game or competition

    Examples of For keeps

    • I bought this antique vase for keeps at a garage sale.

      This idiom is used to mean permanently or without the intention of returning something. In this example, the speaker purchased the antique vase with the intention of keeping it forever, rather than selling it or returning it.

    • After dating for two years, they finally decided to get married for keeps.

      In this example, the couple decided to get married with the intention of staying married permanently, rather than getting divorced or separating.

    • She kept the old family photos for keeps, passing them down to her children and grandchildren.

      In this example, the speaker kept the old family photos as a permanent possession, passing them down to future generations as a way of preserving family history.

    • The artist sold his paintings for keeps, but only to collectors who appreciated their value.

      In this example, the artist sold his paintings with the intention of keeping them in the hands of people who would appreciate their value and not just as a temporary possession.

    • The company invested in new technology for keeps, realizing that it would improve efficiency and save money in the long run.

      In this example, the company invested in new technology with the intention of keeping it permanently, realizing that it would provide long-term benefits and not just as a temporary solution.


    The idiom "for keeps" is commonly used to convey the idea of permanence or finality. It can be used in different contexts, but the underlying message remains the same – something will stay with the current owner or winner for an indefinite period of time. Whether it's a possession, a victory, or a decision, the idiom emphasizes the idea of something being firmly and permanently established.

    Origin of "For keeps"

    The origin of the idiom "for keeps" is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the United States in the mid-19th century. It was first used in gambling contexts, where players would say "I'll play for keeps" to indicate that the money they were betting was not temporary and would remain in their possession regardless of the outcome of the game.

    Over time, the idiom evolved and became more widely used in everyday language. It is now commonly used in various situations to denote permanence or finality. Some suggest that the idiom may have originated from the phrase "for possession keeps," which was used in legal documents to convey the idea of permanent ownership.

    Examples of the idiom "for keeps" can be found in literature, such as in Mark Twain's novel "Tom Sawyer," where one character says, "I'll give you that marble for keeps, if you want it." It is also frequently used in conversations and media to emphasize the permanence of a decision or outcome, such as "I'm quitting this job for keeps" or "The team won the championship for keeps."