"cause to endure or to continue indefinitely, preserve from extinction or oblivion," 1520s, a back-formation from perpetuation or else from Latin perpetuatus, past participle of perpetuare "to make perpetual," from perpetuus "continuous, universal" (see perpetual). Related: Perpetuated; Perpetuating.
1847, in reference to health; 1864 in reference to salvation, from German soteriologie, from Greek soteria "preservation, salvation," from soizein "save, preserve," related to sōs "safe, healthy," which is of uncertain origin (perhaps from PIE root *teue- "to swell," on the notion of "to be strong"). With -ology.
late 14c., "act of reserving or keeping back," from Old French reservation (14c.) and directly from Late Latin reservationem (nominative reservatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin reservare "keep back, save up; retain, preserve," from re- "back" (see re-) + servare "to keep, save, preserve, protect" (from PIE root *ser- (1) "to protect").
The mental sense of "qualification of a statement, etc., not expressed openly" is from c. 1600. The U.S. sense of "tract of public land set aside for some special use," especially exclusive use by native peoples, is from 1789, in reference to the Six Nations in New York State. The meaning "act or fact of engaging a room, a seat, etc." is from 1904, also originally American English.
"having the power or quality of preserving from decay or destruction," 1580s, from Latin conservantem (nominative conservans), past participle of conservare "to keep, preserve, keep intact, guard," from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + servare "keep watch, maintain" (from PIE root *ser- (1) "to protect").
1550s, "to form into grains, granulate," from corn (n.1). From 1560s as "to preserve and season with grains ('corns') of salt." From 1785 (in corned) as "make drunk," as with corn whiskey. Corned beef has nothing to do with the grain; it is so called for the "corns" or "grains" of salt with which it is preserved.
Middle English kēpen, from late Old English cepan (past tense cepte) "to seize, hold; seek after, desire," also "to observe or carry out in practice; look out for, regard, pay attention to," from Proto-Germanic *kopjan, which is of uncertain origin. Old English cepan was used c. 1000 to render Latin observare, so perhaps it is related to Old English capian "to look" (from Proto-Germanic *kap-), which would make the basic sense "to keep an eye on, see to it."
The word prob. belonged primarily to the vulgar and non-literary stratum of the language; but it comes up suddenly into literary use c. 1000, and that in many senses, indicating considerable previous development. [OED]
The senses exploded in Middle English: "to guard, defend" (12c.); "restrain (someone) from doing something" (early 13c.); "take care of, look after; protect or preserve (someone or something) from harm, damage, etc." (mid-13c.); "preserve, maintain, carry on" a shop, store, etc. (mid-14c.); "prevent from entering or leaving, force to remain or stay" (late 14c.); "preserve (something) without loss or change," also "not divulge" a secret, private information, etc., also "to last without spoiling" (late 14c.); "continue on" (a course, road, etc.), "adhere to" a course of action (late 14c.); "stay or remain" (early 15c.); "to continue" (doing something) (mid-15c.). It is used to translate both Latin conservare "preserve, keep safe" and tenere "to keep, retain."
From 1540s as "maintain for ready use;" 1706 as "have habitually in stock for sale." Meaning "financially support and privately control" (usually in reference to mistresses) is from 1540s; meaning "maintain in proper order" (of books, accounts) is from 1550s.
To keep at "work persistently" is from 1825; to keep on "continue, persist" is from 1580s. To keep up is from 1630s as "continue alongside, proceed in pace with," 1660s as "maintain in good order or condition, retain, preserve," 1680s as "support, hold in an existing state." To keep it up "continue (something) vigorously" is from 1752. To keep to "restrict (oneself) to" is from 1711. To keep off (trans.) "hinder from approach or attack" is from 1540s; to keep out (trans.) "prevent from entering" is from early 15c.