Webster 1913 Edition



One who, or that which, keeps; one who, or that which, holds or has possession of anything.
One who retains in custody; one who has the care of a prison and the charge of prisoners.
One who has the care, custody, or superintendence of anything;
as, the
of a park, a pound, of sheep, of a gate, etc.; the
of attached property;
one who saves from harm; a defender; a preserver.
The Lord is thy
Ps. cxxi. 6.
One who remains or keeps in a place or position.
Discreet; chaste;
at home.
Titus ii. 5.
A ring, strap, clamp, or any device for holding an object in place;
The box on a door jamb into which the bolt of a lock protrudes, when shot.
A ring serving to keep another ring on the finger.
A loop near the buckle of a strap to receive the end of the strap.
Keeper of the forest
(O. Eng. Law)
an officer who had the principal government of all things relating to the forest.
Keeper of the great seal
a high officer of state, who has custody of the great seal. The office is now united with that of lord chancellor.
Keeper of the King’s conscience
the lord chancellor; – a name given when the chancellor was an ecclesiastic.
Keeper of the privy seal
(styled also
lord privy seal
a high officer of state, through whose hands pass all charters, pardons, etc., before they come to the great seal. He is a privy councillor, and was formerly called
clerk of the privy seal
Keeper of a magnet
a piece of iron which connects the two poles, for the purpose of keeping the magnetic power undiminished; an armature; called also

Webster 1828 Edition



One who keeps; one that holds or has possession of any thing.
One who retains in custody; one who has the care of a prison and the custody of prisoners.
One who has the care of a park or other inclosure,or the custody of beasts; as the keeper of a park, a pound, or of sheep.
One who has the care, custody or superintendence of any thing.
In Great Britain, the keeper of the great seal, is a lord by his office,and one of the privy council. All royal grants, commissions and charters pass through his hands. He is constituted lord-keeper by the delivery of the great seal. The keeper of the privy seal is also a lord by his office,and a member of the privy council.

Definition 2024





keeper (plural keepers)

  1. One who keeps something.
    Finders keepers; losers weepers.
  2. (informal) A person or thing worth keeping.
    You can throw out all the blurry photos, but the one with her and her daughter is certainly a keeper.
    • 2005, Ladies' Home Journal, Volume 122, Issues 7-12, page 101,
      When he brought me home and volunteered to come with me while I walked my dog, Max, I knew he was a keeper.
    • 2008, Jennifer Zomar, A Candle for the Children, page 28,
      We hadn't dated for long when he said those three magic words: "I'll cook tonight." I knew he was a keeper.
    • 2008, Sherri Erwin, Naughty Or Nice, page 247,
      "Fine," I agreed. “But, Josh, my sister and I can handle it. You sit, watch football with the guys.”
      “I would rather stick close to you. Besides, I love cleaning up.”
      “I knew he was a keeper,” Gran said.
  3. A person charged with guarding or caring for, storing, or maintaining something; a custodian, a guard; sometimes a gamekeeper.
    • 1460-1500, The Towneley Playsː
      I see that it is good; now make we man to our likeness, that shall be keeper of mere & leas(ow), of fowls and fish in flood.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Bible
      And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
    • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 4, in The Dust of Conflict:
      The inquest on keeper Davidson was duly held, and at the commencement seemed likely to cause Tony Palliser less anxiety than he had expected.
  4. (sports) The player charged with guarding a goal or wicket. Short form of goalkeeper, wicketkeeper.
    • 2011 June 4, Phil McNulty, “England 2 - 2 Switzerland”, in BBC:
      England should have capitalised on their growing momentum to win, but Darren Bent failed to reproduce the finishing touches that have brought him goals in three successive appearances. He was blocked by Diego Benaglio when he was played in by Wilshere then blazed over the top of an open goal late on after Young's shot was saved by Switzerland's keeper.
  5. A part of a mechanism that catches or retains another part, for example the part of a door lock that fits in the frame and receives the bolt.
  6. (American football) An offensive play in which the quarterback runs toward the goal with the ball after it is snapped.
  7. One who remains or keeps in a place or position.
    • Bible, Titus ii. 5
      discreet; chaste; keepers at home
    • 1971, H. R. F. Keating, The Strong Man
      I was not altogether surprised: they seemed to be, even more than people in the surrounding wolds, stolid keepers-to-themselves, impossible to stir, dourly determined to stick to the firm routine of their lives []
  8. A fruit that keeps well.
    • Downing
      The Roxbury Russet is a good keeper.
    • 1878, Journal of Horticulture and Practical Gardening (volume 35, page 331)
      And mark you, good keepers are some years bad keepers, as this year; and a hard, heavy, unbruisable Apple that really will keep to late on in the season is doubly valuable.

Derived terms




  • Hyphenation: kee‧per


Borrowing from English keeper


keeper m (plural keepers, diminutive keepertje n)

  1. (sports) keeper, goalie