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keep something at bay

Meaning: If you keep something at bay, you stop something that could be a problem for you from getting too close or from getting worse.

For example:

  • We kept the flood waters at bay by building a wall of sandbags around our house.

  • A good way to keep your feelings of anxiety at bay is to meditate or do some sort of relaxation technique.

Quick Quiz:

Our company is short of money at the moment so we need to keep certain people at bay, including
  1. anyone who owes us money
  2. anyone we owe money to
  3. anyone who works for us

Discuss: keep something at bay

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