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work someone up
to get someone ready for something, especially medical treatment. (See also work oneself up.) The staff worked up three patients for surgery that morning. The doctor told the nurse to work Mr. Franklin up for surgery.
work something up
to prepare something, perhaps on short notice. There are some special clients coming in this weekend. We need to make a presentation. Do you think you can work something up by then? I will work up something for this weekend.
work (yourself) up
to make yourself excited or upset You've worked yourself up over just meeting a girl for a drink? I can't work up any enthusiasm for this plan.
work up somethingalso work something up
to develop something It took me a month to work up an outline of my book. She made a sketch, and hoped to work it up into a full-size painting when she got home.
1. Arouse emotions; see worked up.
2. Increase one's skill, status, or responsibility through effort, as in He worked up to 30 sit-ups a day, or She worked up to bank manager. Also see work one's way. [Second half of 1600s]
3. Intensify gradually, as in The film worked up to a thrilling climax. [Second half of 1600s]
4. Develop or produce by effort, as in Swimming always works up an appetite. [Second half of 1600s]
1. To arouse the emotions of someone or something; excite someone or something: The skillful politician worked up the crowd. What I read in the newspaper today really worked me up.
2. To increase one's skill, responsibility, efficiency, or status to some level through work: I'm increasing my exercise routine and am slowly working up to 30 sit-ups a day.
3. work up to To intensify gradually to some state: The film works up to a thrilling climax.
4. To develop or produce something by mental or physical effort: I worked up my appetite while mowing the lawn. The doctors worked up a patient profile before making their diagnosis.