Definition of up in English:

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Pronunciation: /əp/


1Toward the sky or a higher position: he jumped up two of the men hoisted her up the curtain went up
More example sentences
  • Tell us what it is like to be up on that podium with that crowd just going wild and cheering for you?
  • She put the phone back up to her ear.
  • It was a really fantastic feeling to be up on the podium.
1.1Upstairs: she made her way up to bed
More example sentences
  • She had fallen asleep in the chair after supper and had gone straight up to bed at midnight.
  • He came over to say, ‘I'm going up now. Room 205’.
  • Do you want to come up to my room and watch TV?
1.2Out of bed: Miranda hardly ever got up for breakfast he had been up for hours
More example sentences
  • I don't think I'd ever known Lee to be up before eleven at the earliest and it was only half nine.
  • After dinner, we went to bed so we could be up on time the next morning.
  • Tony Hawk also thought it was way too early to be up on a Sunday morning.
1.3(Of the sun) visible in the sky after daybreak: the sun was already up when they set off
More example sentences
  • At 5:30 it's light, and by 6 the sun is up and making the forest glow.
  • Once the sun came up the civilians brought tea out for the soldiers and gave them water.
  • The sun was up and the sky was clear.
1.4Expressing movement toward or position in the north: I drove up to Detroit
More example sentences
  • They went up north for the day, to Duluth, probably to see Lake Superior.
  • On Friday, Jimmy and I are driving up to Yorkshire to attend a wedding.
  • I was supposed to be up on the East coast somewhere, probably getting over the gig in Whakatane last night.
1.5To or at a place perceived as higher: going for a walk up to the stores
More example sentences
  • I went past the station taxi rank yesterday and I couldn't get near it so I went up to town and it was the same story.
  • You're supposed to be up at the house fixing my phone.
  • We strolled up to Argyll Street and had lunch at Garfunkels.
1.6British Toward or in the capital or a major city: give me a ring when you’re up in London
More example sentences
  • Tomorrow I'm up in London again for a planning meeting.
  • The girls will go up to Brisbane every Sunday to do classes and prepare for a performance.
1.7British At or to a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge: they were up at Cambridge about the same time
More example sentences
  • ‘Were you up at Oxford yourself?’ inquires a voice so precise it could only be an Oxford don's.
  • I'd had one year up at Cambridge and then volunteered for the Army.
  • He went up to Cambridge University at 14, where he followed the standard undergraduate course of the day.
1.8(Of food that has been eaten) regurgitated from the stomach: I was sick and vomited up everything
More example sentences
  • The cat just sicked up some grass on the cream carpet.
  • Patients are unable to control bowel and bladder functions, and some bring up their meal right in the middle of feeding.
  • He threw up behind a mimosa tree in the woods back of Patty's.
1.9 [as exclamation] Used as a command to a soldier or an animal to stand up and be ready to move or attack: up, boys, and at ῾em
More example sentences
  • Let's go, up and at 'em.
  • All up! Ship out in ten!
2To the place where someone is: Dot didn’t hear Mrs. Parvis come creeping up behind her
More example sentences
  • He was talking with his client outside the courtroom when a witness rushed up and attacked his client.
  • He was on his own at a table eating when two guys went up to him.
  • A moment later Nikki and Sandra drove up in a van, followed by Pete in his car.
3At or to a higher level of intensity, volume, or activity: she turned the volume up liven up the graphics U.S. environmental groups had been stepping up their attack on GATT
More example sentences
  • Man, something must really be in the air lately, because the hate mail is up considerably at my job too.
  • Turn the lights down and the sound up.
  • To start with, the level of demand goes up unpredictably.
3.1At or to a higher price, value, or rank: sales are up 22.8 percent at $50.2 million unemployment is up and rising
More example sentences
  • The 2005 RAC Report on Motoring, launched today, reveals the number breaking the limit is up almost 10 per cent on a year ago.
  • Company cars are set to be taxed differently from April 2002 but the tax trend is up.
  • Revenue may be up on short-haul flights for the first time in a long time, but BA knows it can never transform itself into a low-frills carrier.
3.2Winning or at an advantage by a specified margin: there they were in the fourth quarter, up by 11 points we came away 300 bucks up on the evening
More example sentences
  • Louth got back on top and four unanswered points put them two up with ten minutes to go.
  • At 14% the party is up a massive nine points since 1999 and looks like winning seats on all four Dublin councils.
  • It's now one of the top 20 companies on the Australian Stock Exchange and its share price has gone up by over 70%.
4Into the desired or a proper condition: the mayor agreed to set up a committee
More example sentences
  • The scheduled repairs are essential and it will take 14 days of intensive work to get it up to the required standard.
  • It's going to take at least a year, though, to get it up and going.
  • He said a few years ago the residents repaired the road and got it up to standard.
4.1So as to be finished or closed: I’ve got a bit of paperwork to finish up I zipped up my sweater
More example sentences
  • I think we can probably wrap this up before we go to lunch because I have just a few questions.
  • There are just a couple of things we want to finish up.
  • They are actually going on holiday tomorrow night and would like if possible to get it signed up before they go.
5Into a happy mood: I don’t think anything’s going to cheer me up
More example sentences
  • Daniel has cheered up since last week and is feeling confident about next season.
  • Lester actually brightened up at the idea.
6Displayed on a bulletin board or other publicly visible site: he put up posters around the city
More example sentences
  • Hopefully a copy of it should be up on the show's site when it goes live, so I'll listen in if I can.
  • Posters were put up around college.
  • Yorkshire fans are advised to buy their tickets in advance because the ‘sold out’ signs are likely to be up on the day.
7(Of sailing) against the current or the wind.
Example sentences
  • Back in the cockpit he decided it was time to tack, but found the yacht would not point up into the wind.
  • Because he brought the sail up into the wind, the wind caught it and flipped it straight back onto the other side, and down on top of him.
7.1(Of a ship’s helm) moved so that the rudder is to leeward.
Example sentences
  • We saw a square-rigged vessel in full sail close to us, so close that we had to strike sail to avoid running foul of her, while they too put the helm hard up to let us pass.
8 Baseball At bat: every time up, he had a different stance
More example sentences
  • They got a man in scoring position with two out and Buddy Kerr up.
  • In the ninth, I was scheduled to be the fourth man up.


1From a lower to a higher point on (something); upward along: she climbed up a flight of steps
More example sentences
  • We picked our way up one side of the ridge, and I found a spot where we could spend the long night ahead.
  • Calleri is one of several Argentines moving steadily up the rankings.
  • She shrieked with laughter as they raced up the stairs.
1.1From one end to another of (a street or other area), not necessarily on an upward slope: bicycling up Pleasant Avenue toward Maywood Avenue walking up the street
More example sentences
  • I lived just up the street from them.
  • He was returning from visiting his mother further up Silchester Road when the evacuation began and was unable to get back to his home.
  • He's done one job for Redwood City, and one for Emeryville that's just a few blocks up Park Avenue from his office.
1.2To a higher part of (a river or stream), away from the sea: a cruise up the Rhine
More example sentences
  • Last summer I made a trip up the Amazon basin in Peru.
  • In 1866 the U.S.S. General Sherman sailed up the Taedong River to Pyongyang.
  • We think it is a realistic proposition to bring a crossing between Kent and Southend, and eventually up the Thames to London.


1 [attributive] Directed or moving toward a higher place or position: the up escalator
More example sentences
  • You can press the up and down arrows repeatedly to cycle through the commands that you've already typed in.
  • I slipped one of the attendants a tip, then I headed for the up escalator and the station.
  • It gets kind of clumsy when the path leads down the screen and you have the press the up key but that's a relatively minor quibble.
1.1 Physics Denoting a flavor of quark having a charge of + 2/3. Protons and neutrons are thought to be composed of combinations of up and down quarks.
Example sentences
  • In the weak interaction of radioactivity it has been known for many years that the neutrino turns into an electron or that an up quark transmutes into a down.
2 [predicative] In a cheerful mood; ebullient: the mood here is resolutely up
More example sentences
  • You know the geek mood is up when attendees stop talking about making rent this month, and resume predicting the date of the Singularity.
  • I'm really up and excited.
  • There were a few revelers, but really, the mood is up right now.
3 [predicative] (Of a computer system or industrial process) functioning properly: the system is now up
More example sentences
  • My usually reliable comment system is moving to a different host and should be up by the weekend.
  • After the system is up, we use Smaart Live to look for minor problems.
  • You might as well say that the publishing industry will fail now that the internet is up, and I don't really see that happening anytime soon.
4 [predicative] At an end: his contract was up in three weeks time’s up
More example sentences
  • The mobile providers expect you to stay loyal even after your contract is up, so they make their money back in the long run.
  • But he has been an MLA for almost five years, and he has yet to have done something for his constituents - perhaps a constituency meeting before his term is up.
  • I've got a court order here and it says your time is up.
5(Of a jockey) in the saddle.


A period of good fortune: you can’t have ups all the time in football
More example sentences
  • The club has had more downs than ups over the years but that indomitable spirit that it is renowned for has lived proudly on.
  • Don't you ever think, Tammy Faye, that your life, while it has had a lot of ups, has been a series of heartbreaks?
  • The Bluth family, the center of this half-hour show, has had a lot of ups, but now the downs have arrived, bigtime.

verb (ups, upping, upped)

1 [no object] (up and do something) informal Do something abruptly or boldly: she upped and left him
More example sentences
  • Cutting, trimming, finishing, pressing: it was taxing work, though not for the bosses who upped and relocated their operations to other sites nearby in order to escape the clutches of the VAT man.
  • Suddenly they upped and moved, telling neighbours that they were emigrating to the US.
  • Then we upped and left, diverting to avoid a heath fire.
2 [with object] Cause (a level or amount) to be increased: capacity will be upped by 70 percent next year
More example sentences
  • I think it's time to go back to the doctors and get the meds changed / upped.
  • My big achievement for the day was talking to my new account exec at iPowerWeb and getting my storage space upped to 3gb.
  • The offer - since shamefacedly upped to $35 million - equates to what?
3 [with object] Lift (something) up: everybody was cheering and upping their glasses
More example sentences
  • She ups her stick and begins to belabour him across the shoulders.
3.1 [no object] (up with) West Indian & US informal Raise or pick up (something): this woman ups with a stone
More example sentences
  • There was another lady that came in a hurry, and would stop if we were not more than a minute; so Jim ups with a specimen, without looking at it, and it was the picture of a woman and her child.
  • Every time anybody showed himself, Earl upped with that rifle and levelled down.



get it up

vulgar slang Have a penile erection.

it is all up with

informal It is the end of or there is no hope for (someone or something).
Example sentences
  • Asked if he were willing to ‘concede that it is all up with the Republican Party now’ in the next election, he replied: ‘No, sir, I am not.’
  • ‘Ah, he may think so,’ said the gaoler; ‘but it is all up with him, I can tell him.’
  • No, the first time I see him, it is all up with him, I can tell you.

on the up and up

1chiefly North American Honest or sincere.
Example sentences
  • I repeat, the guy in charge of making sure all government contracts are on the up and up just got arrested for corruption.
  • If the Rebels are really on the up and up, why do they associate with criminals like Solo?
  • Call me crazy, but this doesn't seem all on the up and up.
2British Steadily improving or becoming more successful.
Example sentences
  • Bob Downe is certainly on the up and up, because when you are Downe, there ain't no mountain high enough!
  • This is yet another indication that Bradford is on the up and up.
  • Citing injuries and a dip in form with key players, he is amiable but firm as he insists that things are on the up and up.

something is up

informal Something unusual or undesirable is happening or afoot.
Example sentences
  • I don't know why, but I have a feeling that something's up.
  • If girls and boys are getting higher grades for doing old papers that were scoring two or three grades lower last decade, something is up.
  • Upon landing in Dorval, I counted 18 hours without sleep, so when my phone rang wildly I knew something was up.

up against

Close to or in contact with: crowds pressed up against the police barricades
More example sentences
  • Later, I saw the pair of them with their noses pressed up against the back door of our neighbours.
  • I don't like standing in a packed out lift with people pressed right up against me.
  • He was leaning up against the door, pressing his ear to the wood to see if she was coming to let him in.
informal5.1 Confronted with or opposed by: I began to think of what teachers are up against today
More example sentences
  • Tommy did very well in a very tough category where he was up against strong competition.
  • The letter from Mr Ritter only goes to show the problems we are up against.
  • It was a tough task for the elder of the siblings, who was up against Davis Cup exponent David Sherwood.
(up against it) informal5.2 Facing some serious but unspecified difficulty: they play better when they’re up against it
More example sentences
  • We didn't get the call until 2pm and we knew we would be up against it for the rest of the day.
  • Given Kildare's population, smaller counties are really up against it.
  • Norwich City were up against it from day one in the Premiership.

up and about

No longer in bed (after sleep or an illness).
Example sentences
  • I expected my mom to be up and about but I guess she went to sleep.
  • At least now I'm up and about, whereas I'd still be recovering if I'd had a caesarean.
  • Quite what they were doing up and about at 8.40 am I don't know.

up and down

1Moving upward and downward: bouncing up and down
More example sentences
  • We followed the trail that had been made by years of climbing up and down, me tripping along the way like I usually did and sliding on the small rocks.
  • It flew in a zigzag trajectory, up and down through the sky.
  • Right-elbow freedom allows the club to swing up and down.
2To and fro: pacing up and down in front of her desk
More example sentences
  • Before the start the pair touched hands as they paced up and down while the medal ceremony for the men's 100m took place.
  • He began pacing up and down slowly and deliberately.
  • Anny heard her in the hallway pacing up and down.
2.1 [as preposition] To and fro along: strolling up and down the corridor
More example sentences
  • We walk along the sand and up and down the corridors of the building, looking for the boy.
  • One is the traditional pattern of planting in which the tractor-drawn seeder is driven back and forth along the field, up and down every row.
  • We brought along specialists who walked up and down the runway to take readings and measurements.
3In various places throughout: in clubs up and down the country
More example sentences
  • Losing weight is one of the traditional New Year resolutions - health clubs up and down Britain will be rubbing their hands with glee as they wait for the usual January rush.
  • Catch DJ Lubi at Mas Fuego, Salsoul and various clubs up and down the UK.
  • We have guys who come along to watch youth games and pay money to travel up and down Scotland to see matches.
4 informal In varying states or moods; changeable: my relationship with her was up and down
More example sentences
  • Tree were a side inspired after winning five of their first six games but a defeat on June 4 started the slide and the club have been up and down ever since.
  • Plus he's so unpredictable-his moods are up and down.
  • I'm still feeling a bit up and down, generally up though so don't worry.

up and running

(Especially of a computer system) in operation; functioning: the new computer is up and running
More example sentences
  • See my previous post for more info on how to keep your computers up and running.
  • She is in the process of applying for cash from the Lottery Fund and hopes to see the service up and running within a year.
  • She said their computers were down and that they would be up and running at the earliest by noon.

up the ante

see ante.

up before

Appearing for a hearing in the presence of: we’ll have to come up before a magistrate
More example sentences
  • They get hauled up before the courts on the weight of complaints made by their parents.
  • In London, he was hauled up before a series of high-ranking intelligence officers.
  • If you were brought up before the headmaster he would poke you in the chest and you fell back.

up for

1Available for: the house next door is up for sale
More example sentences
  • So he put the company up for sale, hoping that a buyer would groom his successors better than he could.
  • What that means, Martin, is that a lot is up for grabs.
  • The company expects to be up for auction in mid-March of this year.
2Being considered for: he had been up for promotion
More example sentences
  • Anyone putting him/her self up for public office should be, like Caesar's wife, beyond reproach.
  • All 60 councillors are up for election.
  • She was in the middle of a major campaign and she was also up for a promotion.
3Due for: his contract is up for renewal in June
More example sentences
  • Of the eight full-time cable/satellite news channels, seven were up for license renewal.
  • The surcharge will come into effect immediately for new policies issued and for policies coming up for renewal.
  • Instead those drivers and ones with other criminal records will be assessed when their licences come up for annual renewal.

up for it

informal Ready to take part in a particular activity: Nick wasn’t really up for it
More example sentences
  • And if any of you are serious about getting a flat I am up for it!
  • I think he is totally up for it and wants to change things.
  • It's one of those places you go and you know that the people come out and they're up for it, they're very enthusiastic and have a great love of music.

up hill and down dale

All over the place: he led me up hill and down dale till my feet were dropping off
More example sentences
  • Watching the truculent teens toil up hill and down dale with huge loads strapped to their backs may get repetitive, but then suffering is a key part of reality's sadomasochistic charm.
  • But he took great pleasure in making me tramp all over the farm, up hill and down dale, and I was wearing a collar and tie.
  • ‘Back then we did what we can't do now, walking up hill and down dale,’ said 76-year-old Ron.

(well) up on (or in)

Well informed about: he was up on the latest methods
More example sentences
  • Even officials who would presumably be up on such issues appeared fuzzy about the central questions.
  • She wanted to be be up on any news sent to them.
  • However, you two don't seem to be up on current events.

up to

1As far as: I could reach just up to his waist
More example sentences
  • He walked across the frozen reservoir to retrieve his football but the ice gave way, plunging Luke into the water up to his waist.
  • As he tried to walk across the mud he began to sink after just 15 metres and was quickly stuck up to his waist.
  • The flood water reached up to the middle of the car wheels, seeping into our car floor and soaking the carpet in the car.
1.1 (also up until) Until: up to now I hadn’t had a relationship
More example sentences
  • The frustrating thing is, we were doing alright up until then and were making good use of our extra player.
  • The autumn and winter months up until the middle of December are traditionally the best time for game.
  • It traces the painter's adult life right up until his death in a car crash in 1956.
2Indicating a maximum amount: the process is expected to take up to two years
More example sentences
  • After that the dealer earns his profit by adding on a margin of up to a maximum of 3 per cent.
  • In order for a game to proceed, you need at least two people connected and up to a maximum of six.
  • Corporations may deduct from income an amount up to the fair market value of the ecological gift.
3 [with negative or in questions] As good as; good enough for: I was not up to her standards
More example sentences
  • If they aren't up to standard, however, it could be a different story.
  • It would easily be up to the standard of our National One matches.
  • He's good at speeches, and this one was up to his usual standard.
3.1Capable of or fit for: he is simply not up to the job
More example sentences
  • Everything checked out fine and both engines indicated that they were up to the task.
  • Mentally I was not up to the challenge of traveling to Australia.
  • She said she wasn't up to the job, and simply couldn't handle the media.
4The duty, responsibility, or choice of (someone): it was up to them to gauge the problem
More example sentences
  • But is it the government's duty, or is it up to individuals to take responsibility for their eating?
  • No one is forcing them to make a difference here, it is really up to individual choice.
  • The choice of grid is up to the artist, as is the color of each of the grid's cells.
5 informal Occupied or busy with: what’s he been up to?
More example sentences
  • A real poker player would quickly realize what you were up to and stop falling for it.
  • How often I come here depends whether or not I'm in England, but I tend to pitch up like an auditor to see what they're up to.
  • I wonder what he's up to?

up top

British informal In the brain (with reference to intelligence): a man with nothing much up top
More example sentences
  • To be a good tackler is about what is up top and you have to be prepared to get hurt.
  • Peg, you've got enough up top for both of us.

up with ——

An exclamation expressing support for a stated person or thing.
Example sentences
  • So say it: up with technology, up with gadgets.
  • I don't see any handmade signs at shows that say ‘Up with diversity!’ but I think the cultural harmony is felt.
  • Down with tragedy! Up with comedy!

up yours

(also up your ass)
vulgar slang An exclamation expressing contemptuous defiance or rejection of someone.

what's up?

1What is going on?
Example sentences
  • You can imagine the scenario, Trent's lying on the coach playing Gamecube, and Jeordie walks in the door, ‘Hey man, what's up?’
  • As I opened the door to Carolyn's room I smelled the scent of her favorite perfume in the air, and half expected her to appear with a ‘Hey Mom, what's up?’
  • I have been talking to my crush online a lot lately, but I never knew what to say in person after the usual, ‘Hey, what's up?’
2What is the matter? what’s up with you?
More example sentences
  • How to respond to the comment ‘you look great - what's up?’
  • I'm too big of a Velvets fan to just go into an interview and say, ‘Hey, your last record's no good, what's up?’
  • His face was red and a witness asked him: ‘Mr Scherwitz, what's up?’


Old English up(p), uppe, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch op and German auf.

Words that rhyme with up

cup, grown-up, pup, scup, straight-up, stuck-up, summing-up, sup, totting-up, two-up, washing-up

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: up

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