In Welsh, cadw, the verb corresponding to the English verb keep can be used to mean put away or store (something) in its appropriate place.

Welsh-speakers will sometimes be teased for transferring this usage into their English, for example:

keep the dishes will you? I've kept the laundry and now I'm ready to leave.

However, a close first-language English friend of mine from the Midlands swears that she uses keep in the same way, and that usage is considered normal in her area.

I've not found any evidence of this in the OED (despite scrolling through all the different meanings assigned to keep), or in any other dictionary. As keep is such a common word, it's hard to find anything relevant on Google.

There is, however, some independent corroboration in this post: Can keep be used as a replacement for store?

(I suspect they may have been asking the same thing, but without the Welsh dimension to the question).

I'm wondering if any non-Welsh English speakers are familiar with this usage? Is it found in certain dialects, or could it be a new pattern that's emerging in the language?

Thanks in advance.

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    The AHD has the following meaning of keep : 4. To put customarily; store: Where do you keep your saw? thefreedictionary.com/keep – user121863 Oct 3 '19 at 15:49
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    It looks to me more like a dying dialectal usage (feasibly linked to some near-homophonous Welsh usage), rather than a new pattern that's emerging in the language. How old is your friend? Where (and with who) did she grow up? – FumbleFingers Oct 3 '19 at 16:48
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    The full OED entry for keep is exceptionally long, including dozens of senses now marked "obsolete", but I see that the (also very long) Etymology section starts with Late Old English cépan: no related words known in the cognate languages. Maybe the Welsh cadw has different affordances, and perhaps your friend picked it up from a Welsh parent or grandparent and simply assumed cadw and keep were cognate / synonymous. Then again, maybe someone else here will say they're familiar with the usage as cited above, which might give us further clues. – FumbleFingers Oct 4 '19 at 13:22
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    Dialectal usage varies in the United States, too. Southerners use the phrase put up instead of put away. Does Welsh have an equivalent verb phrase for put away or could this have been a substitution to the closest meaning? I understand that the question is about British English rather than Welsh, but I think @FumbleFingers is certainly onto something with his statement. – David M Oct 4 '19 at 19:03
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    It's not only in Wales. After dinner, someone from Singapore (first language is English, education is UK A-levels plus Canadian university) once handed me a bottle of ketchup and told me to "keep it". Thinking this meant "take it home with me" (as a gift?), I was somewhat confused. But what they really meant was "put it back into the cupboard". – Ray Butterworth Oct 4 '19 at 19:25

Off the top of my head I am thinking "ship's keep" which may be where valuable items on the ship are kept. Might also refer to a jail cell " Put him in the keep". Would like to add reference, but busy on other matters - google "ship's keep"

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  • If you Google "ship's keep" it just asks if you meant "ship's keel". – KillingTime Nov 27 '19 at 20:06
  • I was thinking along similar lines of a pie keep, sometimes called a keep or the keep. Clearly everything mentioned in these discussions are related usages, a place to put things, putting things in their place. – mtugglet Mar 3 at 14:43

I second user067531. There are a number of definitions of to put away in American English and Canadian English dictionaries, one of which is "to keep." However, in this instance, it's more common to "store," "stow," or "put away" the dishes. When putting away the laundry, it may make more sense to say "fold," "hang," "organize", (or maybe even stash ;) the laundry...)

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  • As per my reply to @user067531 that's not the same usage as I'm trying to describe, however. It's more of a direct synonym for put away as in "will you keep the dishes" than the customary location where something is kept, – PrettyHands Nov 12 '19 at 20:07

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