Did someone tell you they’re going to ‘keep you posted’ and you’re wondering what it means?
In brief, if someone says they’ll ‘keep you posted,’ it means they will keep you updated about a specific situation. This is commonly used for circumstances that are quickly changing.
‘Keep you posted’ is a phrase that means “to regularly give a person information about what is happening, particularly a situation that is changing quickly.”
For example, let’s say that your local grocery store is going to be carrying a new product that you are interested in purchasing. If you ask them when it will be available and they aren’t quite sure, they could say they’ll ‘keep you posted.’ Alternatively, if they tell you it’s uncertain when the product is going to arrive, you could ask them if they would be willing to ‘keep you posted.’ (Such as, “would you mind ‘keeping me posted’?”)
Though it’s difficult to discern precisely when ‘keep you posted’ became a common English phrase, the Google Books Ngram Viewer shows us that the specific phrase doesn’t appear in any texts until 1829. However, there is some usage of the phrase ‘keep me posted’ as early as 1800.
The word ‘keep’ comes from a late Old English word cepan that means “to hold, seize; desire, seek after” as well as “to look out for, pay attention to, regard; to observe or carry out in practice.” In Middle English, a large number of new meanings of the word came into common use– ranging from “to guard, defend” in the twelfth century and “to preserve (something)” in the late fourteenth century to “to stay or remain” in the late fourteenth century and “to continue” in the mid-fifteenth century.
‘Posted’ is the past tense of ‘post,’ which has a number of different definitions. The most relevant definition for the phrase ‘keep you posted’ is “supplied with news or full information.” According to The Online Etymology Dictionary, this usage first appeared in 1828.
In an 1896 publication entitled The Federal Reporter: Volume 75, we find ‘keep you posted’ used with its contemporary meaning:
“We hope you will still feel as though you could nurse this duck for a while longer, and we will keep you posted in the affairs of the institution as you may desire from time to time, so that you may know that your interests are not being jeopardized by allowing the business to continue.”
An 1882 book by Lawrence L. Lynch named Shadowed by Three contains the following sentence:
“I will be able to keep him under my eye, and can keep you posted during the time you will need for your trip to New York.”
In an 1878 letter published in an 1888 document, “New York Court of Appeals, Record, and Briefs,” we find the phrase ‘keep me posted’:
“I wish you and yours a happy New Years. No letter from you in several days. Why don’t you keep me posted. I have been looking for a letter every day for a week. Write now at once and tell me how you are progressing.”
Another related meaning of the word ‘post’ is the definition “to provide rapid and direct communication of letters from one place to another by relays.” Before we were so interconnected by phones and the internet, people relied on mail as a means of receiving information from people that weren’t nearby. In this sense, you can imagine how ‘keep me posted’ and ‘keep you posted’ could emerge as common phrases.
How would you use 'keep you posted' in a sentence? Let’s take a look at some examples.
What are some other words and phrases that have a similar meaning to 'keep you posted'? Here are some options:
Do you want us to ‘keep you posted’ when there are more fascinating English phrases to learn? Lucky for you, there’s no need! Head over to our idioms blog and find tons of articles about the meaning and origin of various English expressions.
It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.