Keep at bay


      • prevent or control
        Keep something or someone at a distance or under control, typically to avoid harm or danger

      • avoid or evade
        Stay away from something or someone in order to avoid trouble or negative consequences

    Examples of Keep at bay

    • The strong smell of garlic kept the vampires at bay during our midnight hike.

      In this example, "keep at bay" is used to describe how the smell of garlic repelled the vampires and prevented them from attacking the group during their hike at night.

    • The security guard's fierce bark kept the intruders at bay until the police arrived.

      In this example, "keep at bay" is used to explain how the sound of the security guard's bark intimidated the intruders and prevented them from entering the property, giving the police enough time to arrive and apprehend them.

    • The patient's immune system was able to keep the virus at bay, preventing it from spreading throughout their body.

      In this example, "keep at bay" is used to describe how the patient's immune system successfully defended against the virus before it caused any serious harm to their health.

    • The sight of the police car approaching kept the speeding driver at bay, causing them to slow down.

      In this example, "keep at bay" is used to illustrate how the approaching police car served as a warning to the speeding driver, deterring them from continuing to exceed the speed limit.

    • The police used pepper spray to keep the rowdy protestors at bay.

      This idiom means to keep a group of people from approaching or getting too close. In this example, the police used pepper spray as a deterrent to prevent the protestors from coming closer or causing any damage or disturbance.

    • The lioness fiercely roared and swiped her paw to keep the hyenas at bay.

      This idiom refers to stopping something or someone from attacking or harming. In this case, the lioness used her roar and paw swipe to keep the hyenas away and protect her cubs from getting harmed.

    • The nurse advised the patient to eat small meals frequently to keep his stomach at bay.

      This idiom signifies maintaining a particular condition or state. In this example, the nurse asked the patient to consume small meals frequently to prevent his stomach from becoming too full or uncomfortable.

    • The school officials put up a barricade to keep the intruder at bay.

      This idiom relates to stopping or preventing something from coming closer. In this situation, the school officials put up a barrier to block the intruder from entering the school premises and protecting the students and staff inside.


    The idiom "keep at bay" is commonly used to refer to preventing or controlling something. It can be used in a literal sense, such as keeping a dangerous animal at a distance, or in a more figurative sense, such as avoiding a problem or negative outcome. The phrase is often used to emphasize the importance of staying vigilant and taking proactive measures to avoid harm or trouble.

    Origin of "Keep at bay"

    The origin of the idiom "keep at bay" can be traced back to the sport of hunting. In hunting, "at bay" refers to when an animal, such as a stag or a boar, is cornered and held back by a pack of hounds, preventing it from attacking or escaping. The hunters would keep the animal at bay until they were ready to make the final capture. Over time, the phrase evolved to be used more broadly to convey the idea of keeping something at a distance or under control. The idiom has since become a common expression in the English language to describe the act of preventing or avoiding something.