keep one's counsel

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English[edit]

Verb[edit]

keep one's counsel

  1. To keep one's own business private; to be discreet, careful, or circumspect in what one says concerning one's own thoughts, deeds, or situation.
    • 1850, William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Pendennis, ch. 6:
      As he held his mother to him, he longed to tell her all, but he kept his counsel.
    • 1982, "Personal Power, Personal Hate," Time, 26 Jul.:
      Khomeini's approach to decision making is to keep his counsel at first, allowing the advocates of different options to debate issues openly.
  2. To keep a secret for someone else; to be discreet, careful, or circumspect in what one says concerning someone else's thoughts, deeds, or situation.
    • 1822, Sir Walter Scott, The Fortunes of Nigel, ch. 8:
      I am sorry this is a matter I cannot aid you in—it goes against my conscience, and it is an affair above my condition, and beyond my management;—but I will keep your counsel.
    • 1871–72, George Eliot, Middlemarch, Chapter 49
      Standish will keep our counsel, and the news will be old before it's known.

Synonyms[edit]