A Wordorigins.org thread started by aldiboronti asked about a line from a book that puzzled him: “I don’t care if school keeps or not.” It turns out it’s an old Americanism I was unfamiliar with:
38. b. Of a school: to be held. U.S.
1845 Knickerbocker XXVI. 277 One afternoon, when ‘school didn’t keep’, some one got into the house. 1867 ‘T. LACKLAND’ Homespun I. 123 The District School has not ‘kept’ since the week began. 1908 M. E. FREEMAN Shoulders of Atlas 68 School ain’t going to keep today.
Another commenter says it seems to exist now mainly “in a set phrase… ‘I don’t care if school keeps or not’, ‘I don’t give a damn if school keeps or not’, ‘whether school keeps or not’ etc. which is used in situations where no actual school is involved to mean something like ‘come hell or high water’.” Does anyone out there know/use this phrase? If so, where are you from?