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From under- +‎ keep.


underkeep (third-person singular simple present underkeeps, present participle underkeeping, simple past and past participle underkept)

  1. (transitive) To keep under or in subjection; subdue; suppress.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. [], London: [] William Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938, book II, canto XI:
      Like as a fire, the which in hollow caue / Hath long bene vnderkept, and downe supprest, / With murmurous disdaine doth inly raue []
    • 1865, The farmer's magazine - Page 276:
      It is not economy to overwork or underkeep, or in any wise neglect the farm horse?
    • 1967, Rudolf Augstein, Der Spiegel: Volume 21, Issues 19-23:
      [...] how running himself our President underkeeps with such high animals how the british Queen in Her Majesty's own language.
  2. (transitive) To keep or maintain inadequately or below standard.
    • 2004, Let's Go, Inc, Let's go: India & Nepal, 2004 - Page 191:
      Compared to Colva and Benaulim, Palolem 's accommodations are overpriced and underkept — expect to pay Rs200 in season for the privilege of crashing in a charmless double and using a common bathroom outside.
    • 2011, Marie Puissant, University of Wisconsin off the record:
      Most houses on Oakland Ave. have large basements that are underkept.

Derived terms[edit]


underkeep (plural underkeeps)

  1. An underground reserve.
    • 2007, Jeffrey Overstreet, Auralia's Colors:
      The earth was swallowing Abascar. "The Underkeeps caved in."
  2. A keep or storage space located beneath the foundation of a structure; cellar.
    • 1907, Léonard Archbutt, Richard Mountford Deeley, Lubrication and lubricants:
      [...] located in the bottom of the driving-box cellars (underkeeps), a perforated plate being used between the axle and the cake of grease.
  3. Any storage space or reservoir placed below another object.
    • 1951, Railway gazette international: Volume 94:
      They have sliding underkeeps of ample oil capacity with pad lubrication and the underkeeps are supplied with oil direct from a mechanical lubricator.
  4. An underkeeper, guardian, or custodian.
    • 1886, John Philip Hore, The history of Newmarket:
      [...] rooms taken up by Mr. Newton one of his Mats Gent ushers for the placing of the Kings Mats wardrobe stuffe for the space of three weeks at Newmarkett To Robert Ford underkeep of his Mats House at Newmarkett in considracon of the want [...]