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eat someone up
1. . Lit. to consume the flesh of someone. The big bad wolf said he was going to eat you up! The bear ate up the fish.
2. Fig. [for an idea] to consume a person. The whole idea of visiting Australia was just eating her up. The obsession to own a car was eating up my brother and his friends.
3. Fig. [for insects] to bite a person all over. These mosquitoes are just eating me up! The bugs literally ate up all the hikers.
4. Fig. [for someone] to overwhelm and devastate someone. The guy is a devil! He just eats up people! Fred will just eat you up. He is a vicious administrator.
eat something up
1. . and eat an animal up Lit. to devour all of some food or an animal. They ate the turkey up, and no one had to eat leftovers. The lion ate up the zebra very quickly.
2. Fig. to consume something rapidly, such as money. Running this household eats my income up. The car really eats up gas.
3. Fig. to believe something. Those people really eat that stuff up about tax reduction. They'll eat up almost anything you tell them.
4. Fig. to appreciate something. The audience liked my singing; they really ate it up. The stuff about the federal budget went over well. They really ate up the whole story.
eat you up(spoken)
to spoil your life The danger of a busy professional life is that it will eat you up.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of eat something up (to use something so there is little or nothing left)
1. Consume completely, as in No television until you eat up your dinner, or This quarter's expenses have eaten up all my spare cash. The literal use (first example) dates from the early 1500s, the figurative from the early 1600s.
2. Enjoy avidly, as in She simply eats up the publicity. [Late 1800s]
3. Believe unquestioningly, be gullible, as in He'll eat up whatever the broker tells him. [Slang; early 1900s]
4. Defeat completely, as in This new fighter just eats up every opponent. [Slang; c. 1830]
5. See eat out, def. 2.
1. To devour something completely: The children ate up all the food in the house. If you leave cookies out, the dog will eat them up.
2. To consume a large amount of something: The repair bills for maintaining this old car really eat up my savings account. Driving so fast ate all our gas up very quickly.
3. Slang To obsess or bother someone: That snide remark you made is still eating me up.
4. Slang To receive or enjoy something enthusiastically or avidly: That television celebrity really eats up the publicity. The kids love those jokes—they eat them right up.
5. Slang To believe something without question: He'll eat up whatever his broker tells him. I said I was very rich and she ate it right up.
in. to eat in enjoyment. (Usually a command.) Eat up! There’s plenty more where this came from.