hold at bay

Meaning 1
Hunting dogs barking at game or prey until the hunter can arrive
Sentence 1
The dogs held the stag at bay until the hunters came.
Meaning 2
to keep something or someone stopped awhile until something else can be done
Sentence 2
They held the drug dealer at bay until the police could come.


From a French medieval sports term, "abai", meaning to bark at game and hold it for the hunter.