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To make a point of outdoing, outperforming, outclassing, etc., someone. I hate telling stories around Jack because he always tries to one-up you with some fabulous anecdote of his own.
1. verb To disconnect a phone call. The term is often used to mean to end the call in the middle of the conversation, but it can also mean to disconnect the call when it is finished. Don't you dare hang up on me, I'm not done issuing my complaint! I can't hear you anymore, it must be a bad signal. I'm going to hang up now, so call me back if you can hear this.
2. noun (usually hyphenated) A disconnected phone call. The phone's been ringing all day, but it's just been a bunch of hang-ups. I think someone's pranking us.
3. noun (usually hyphenated) An impediment of some kind, usually an emotional or psychological insecurity, that prevents a person from making progress in a situation. Jeff's personal hang-up is that he always felt like his parents supported his brother more than they supported him.
Something used to improve a person's mood or level of energy. After a long week, I needed a pick-me-up, so I stopped by the salon to get a pedicure. I was so drowsy on the way to work, so I stopped by the coffee shop for a little pick-me-up.
A social gathering at which people drink an excessive amount of alcohol. Bob didn't go to the party because he knew it was going to be nothing but a piss-up.
1. verb To move backwards. This phrase is commonly used to refer to maneuvering a car in reverse. Back up, you're standing too close to me! If you back up a little, then your car will be completely in that parking space.
2. verb To save copies of computer files in another place, in case the original files become inaccessible. If you didn't back up your files before the computer crashed, they may be lost forever.
3. verb To become clogged and impassable. I'm calling the plumber right now because the toilet is backed up again. Traffic is totally backed up, due to all that construction.
4. verb To return to an item previously mentioned. Whoa, back up—Janet and Jim are getting married?
5. verb To support or assist someone. A person's name or a pronoun is used between "back" and "up" in this usage. You didn't see that meeting on the calendar, either? OK, please back me up on this, so the boss doesn't think I'm an idiot.
6. noun An alternate to be used if it becomes necessary for some reason, typically the failure, ineffectiveness, or the absence of the original. The phrase is typically written as one word. I brought an extra pen as a backup, in case this one runs out of ink during the exam. I hope Tony asks me to the prom, but, if not, I have my best friend Bill as a backup.
7. adjective Available for use as an alternate if it becomes necessary for some reason, typically the failure, ineffectiveness, or the absence of the original. The phrase is typically written as one word. I brought three backup pens, in case this one runs out of ink during the exam. I'm the backup quarterback, but I still have to know all the plays in case I get in the game. I hope Tony asks me to the prom, but, if not, I have my best friend Bill as a backup date.
8. adjective Appearing in the background in support of a main act or performer. The phrase is typically written as one word. She's auditioning backup dancers for her world tour today.
1. verb To come apart in pieces. The house is so old that the plaster on this wall is breaking up—there are bits of it all over the floor.
2. verb To split something into smaller pieces. In this usage, a noun is commonly used between "break" and "up." I know the project is daunting, but let's break it up into manageable parts that each of us can work on. Because there was only one cookie left, I broke it up so that each kid could have a piece.
3. verb To be inaudible or indecipherable, as of a voice on the telephone or a broadcast of some kind. I'm sorry, can you repeat that? You're breaking up. Your father called, but he was breaking up the whole time, and his message was all garbled.
4. verb To disrupt something and induce its end. In this usage, a noun can be used between "break" and "up." When the teacher saw the two boys shove each other, she came running over to break it up. The police have been working hard to break up the drug trade in our city
5. verb To end a partnership of some kind, often a romantic relationship. I'm so sad to hear that Mara and John broke up—I thought those two would be together forever. The Beatles breaking up is considered a pivotal moment in rock history.
6. verb To cause one to laugh or cry intensely. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is commonly used between "break" and "up." That joke broke her up more than I'd anticipated—she thought it was hilarious! My mother was fine this morning, but the funeral really broke her up.
7. verb To laugh or cry intensely. She thought that joke was hilarious and completely broke up at it! My mother was fine this morning, but she really broke up at the funeral.
8. verb To disrupt the monotony of something. I need to walk around and get some coffee—anything to break up a morning of research. You need to inject some humor and break up the dull tone of this speech.
9. noun The end of a partnership of some kind, often a romantic relationship. The phrase is commonly written as one word in this usage. I was so sad to hear of Mara and John's breakup—I thought those two would be together forever. The Beatles' breakup is considered a pivotal moment in rock history.
1. verb To call someone or something by phone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "up." Please call up your mother once in a while. I called up the school to find out the status of my application.
2. verb To call by phone or yell to someone on a higher level of a house or building. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "up." Call up to the CEO's assistant and tell him that the 3 o'clock interview is here. I called up to my dad to tell him the kitchen sink was still leaking.
3. verb To invite people to move from a lower level in a particular place to a higher one (such as a stage). A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "up." We will call the graduates up one by one, so be sure to listen for your name.
4. verb To cause one to think of or remember someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "up." That song calls up many fond memories of my childhood. Can we go somewhere else for dinner? That place just calls my ex-girlfriend up.
5. verb To initiate a discussion on a particular topic or issue. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "up." You didn't miss much—Betsy just called up budgetary discrepancies as the next topic of discussion.
6. verb To utilize something, often a quality or skill. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "up." The championship game was so intense that I really had to call up my mental toughness just to get through it.
7. verb To bring someone into active military service. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "up." With this war intensifying, I'm worried that my son will be called up and sent overseas.
8. verb To retrieve information from a computer. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "up." Call up the latest budget report for me, please. I'll need a printed copy for my meeting tomorrow.
9. verb To give a minor league player a spot on a major league team's roster. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "up." The pitcher just got called up from the minors, so this will be his first big test.
10. noun A minor league athlete who has been summoned to play for a major league team (perhaps temporarily). This phrase is usually hyphenated when used as a noun. With so many veterans injured, their roster has a lot of call-ups right now, so it's no surprise they're going to miss the playoffs.
11. noun The opportunity for a minor league athlete to play for a major league team. This phrase is usually hyphenated when used as a noun. Because I wasn't a high profile draft pick, I had to start my career in the minors and wait to get a call-up.
1. verb To check the status, condition, or wellbeing of someone or something through an inspection or visit. We need to check up on grandma and see how she is coping with all this snow. I just checked up on the baby, and he's still sleeping. Can you check up on the dryer and tell me if it's still running?
2. noun A visit to a doctor for an examination, often as part of routine monitoring (rather than for an acute condition or reason). In this usage, the phrase is often hyphenated. Oh, it's just my yearly check-up, nothing to worry about.
1. A phrase that encourages one to improve one's mood, especially when sad or discouraged. Come on, the project was not a total failure—chin up! Chin up, honey—tomorrow's another day.
2. noun The act of pulling oneself upward while holding onto a bar, as at a gym. The phrase is often hyphenated in this usage. My arms are already shaking—how many more chin-ups am I supposed to do?
1. verb Literally, to shut something that is open. Be sure to close up the oven after you take out the cookies.
2. verb To sew an opening shut at the end of a surgical procedure. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "close" and "up." The procedure is finished. Now we need to close him up.
3. verb To heal, as of a cut or wound. The cut isn't too deep, so it should close up on its own, no stitches needed.
4. verb To become completely closed or sealed shut. After I got hit in the face with a baseball, my eye swelled so much that it actually closed up.
5. verb To cease business operations for any length of time (often permanently). I loved that restaurant, so I'm very disappointed that it closed up permanently. That shop always closes up for two weeks in the summer to accommodate the owner's vacation.
6. verb To close something, typically a place, securely. I hope you closed up the store before you left for the night.
7. noun A shot in which the camera is positioned very close to the subject. In this usage, the phrase is typically hyphenated. I want the next scene to start with a close-up of Caroline standing in the doorway. Her close-ups of flowers are just gorgeous—she's a very underrated photographer.
8. noun A detailed or intimate portrayal or exploration of something. In this usage, the phrase is typically hyphenated. This novel is a close-up of Depression-era America.
1. verb To place a covering on someone or something, as for protection. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cover" and "up." Let me just cover up these leftovers so you can take them with you. I'm so fair-skinned that I have to cover myself up before spending time in the sun.
2. To clothe oneself. I'll answer the door in a moment, I just need to cover up first.
3. verb To conceal the evidence of one's (usually nefarious) actions. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cover" and "up." I just know that the CEO is covering something up—why else would those documents suddenly go missing? The administration is clearly trying to cover up the scandal.
4. noun The act of concealing the evidence of nefarious actions. When used as a noun, the phrase is typically hyphenated or written as one word. Their cover-up unraveled when the CEO's secretary confessed to his wrongdoing. The administration is clearly engaging in a coverup to hide the scandal.
5. noun An article of clothing worn over other clothing, such as a bathing suit. When used as a noun, the phrase is typically hyphenated. Once it got breezy on the beach, I put my cover-up back on.
1. verb To laugh a lot. We all cracked up at Josh's joke.
2. verb To cause someone to laugh a lot. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "crack" and "up." Josh's joke cracked us all up. That comedian just cracks me up.
3. verb To experience a mental or emotional breakdown. All those days of sleep deprivation finally caused me to crack up. She's terrified to leave the house all of a sudden—I think she's cracking up.
4. verb To destroy something. He drove into a tree and cracked up his car.
5. verb To be in an accident. I cracked up after losing control of my car.
6. noun An accident. When used as a noun, the phrase is typically hyphenated. I was in a crack-up when I lost control of my car and hydroplaned.
1. verb To chop something into smaller pieces. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cut" and "up." You need to cut up these onions so we can use them as a garnish.
2. verb To judge or criticize someone or something harshly. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cut" and "up." I thought I had done a good job on the project, but my boss just cut me up, pointing out every little thing I had overlooked.
3. verb To cause someone to laugh. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "cut" and "up." His remark cut up the rest of the group, but I just didn't think it was funny.
4. verb To joke or play around. Boys! Stop cutting up and focus on these math problems!
5. verb To behave in an angry and perhaps violent manner. In this usage, "up" is typically followed by "rough." Don't leave those guys alone together—they've been known to cut up rough when they disagree with each other.
6. noun One prone to joking or playing around. In this usage, the phrase is usually hyphenated. My son is constantly getting in trouble at school because he's such a cut-up.
7. adjective Anguished. After the funeral, I was totally cut up for the rest of the day.
8. adjective, slang Defined in the abdominal muscles. In this usage, "up" is optional. Did you see that lifeguard with his shirt off? He's totally cut!
To relocate from one's current residence. Primarily heard in UK, Ireland. The more I think about how much we love the coast, the more I think we should just up sticks and find a place near the beach.
1. verb To meet at a location, typically not either person's home. Hey, let's meet up at the coffee shop later. I have to run to an appointment now. Can I meet up with you later?
2. noun An organized gathering of some kind, usually of people with similar interests. In this usage, the term is usually spelled as one word. There's a sci-fi meetup in the library later. Are you coming?
1. verb To contact someone to get more information about something. Please follow up with Ingrid to be sure that the project is still on schedule. The doctor's office never called me back, so I'm going to follow up with them tomorrow.
2. verb To conclude something by taking a particular action. We followed up the doctor's appointment with a trip to the ice cream parlor, as promised.
3. verb To check that something was done properly. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "follow" and "up." Ben never follows the instructions I give him, so can you please follow him up?
4. noun A subsequent doctor's appointment for the purpose of monitoring something. The phrase is often hyphenated in this usage. Apparently, my cholesterol levels were a little high, so I have to go back for a follow-up next week.
1. verb, rude slang To mess up or ruin something. The threat of a hurricane really fucked up our vacation plans! Boy, you really fucked up this engine. When was the last time you got your oil changed?
2. verb, rude slang To fail or malfunction. The printer fucked up last night so I still haven't printed my report.
3. verb, rude slang To be intoxicated. You guys were really fucked up at the party last night. Do you remember anything at all?
4. adjective, rude slang Messed up or ruined. Boy, this engine is really fucked up. When was the last time you got your oil changed?
5. noun, rude slang One who is apt to mess up or ruin something. The phrase is usually hyphenated in this usage. Of course he ruined his car engine in a month —he's a real fuck-up.
6. noun, rude slang A complete mess. The phrase is usually hyphenated in this usage. This drawer is a total fuck-up—why are hairspray, batteries, and spoons all in here together?
1. To connect two things. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hook" and "up." We can hook up your car to my truck and tow it home.
2. To set up an electronic device or system. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hook" and "up." Can you hook up my TV before you leave?
3. To spend time with someone. I hope we'll be able to hook up for coffee or something while you're home for Christmas break.
4. To arrange a date for two people. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "hook" and "up." Oh, I've been trying to hook Carmen and Bill up for years—I think they'd be great together!
5. To get married. Do you guys ever plan to hook up after dating for so long?
6. To be romantically involved with someone. No, we never hooked up—we're just friends.
7. slang To have casual sex with someone. I can't believe you hooked up with my ex-boyfriend!
8. noun, slang A casual sexual encounter. In this usage, the phrase is often written as one word ("hookup"). It was just a hookup—we're not dating or anything.
9. noun, slang Someone that one has had a casual sexual encounter with. In this usage, the phrase is often written as one word ("hookup"). He was just a hookup—we're not dating or anything.
1. verb To make a big mistake or blunder; to mishandle or ruin something. I'm sorry, I really screwed up. Please forgive me! Wow, it looks like they really screwed up this time.
2. verb To ruin, damage, or mishandle something, especially inadvertently. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "screw" and "up." I can't believe you screwed that deal up! I screwed up my computer somehow—could you come take a look at it?
3. verb To damage or confuse someone's emotional or mental state. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "screw" and "up." Living with abusive parents really screwed him up. The divorce screwed me up for a long time.
4. verb To interfere with someone or their ability to do something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "screw" and "up." I have to concentrate while I do this, so please don't talk and screw me up!
5. noun A huge mistake, blunder, or mishandling. In this usage, the phrase is usually hyphenated or spelled as one word. Another screwup like that and you're fired! I don't care whose screw-up it was—just fix it!
6. noun A person who is prone to making big mistakes or blunders; someone who can't get anything right. In this usage, the phrase is usually hyphenated or spelled as one word. The way I see it, if you treat someone like a screwup their entire life, they're going to eventually become one. I can't believe he married such a screw-up like that.
back someone up
to provide someone with help in reserve; to support someone. Don't worry. I will back you up when you need me. Will you please back up Nancy over the weekend?
back something up
1. Lit. to drive a car backwards. Will you back your car up a little? I will back up the car.
2. Lit. to cause objects to obstruct a pathway or channel and cause a slowdown in the flow. The wreck backed the cars up for a long way. Some dead branches and leaves backed the sewer up.
3. Fig. to give additional support or evidence about something. (To support or strengthen the facts.) My story of the crime will back your story up. That backs up my story, all right.
1. Lit. [for objects] to obstruct and accumulate in a pathway or channel. Something clogged the sewer and it backed up.
2. Fig. to refuse to go through with something; to back out (of something). Fred backed up at the last minute, leaving me to do the job alone.
back up (to something)
to go back to something said in a conversation. Wait—back up a little. What did you say that phone number was? Let's back up to what you just said and go over that point again.
back up (to something)
to go back to something said in a conversation. Wait—back up a little. What did you say that phone number was? Let's back up to what you just said and go over that point again.
break someone up
to cause a person to laugh, perhaps at an inappropriate time. John told a joke that really broke Mary up. The comedian's job was to break up the audience by telling jokes.
break something up
1. Lit. to destroy something. The storm broke the docks up on the lake. The police broke up the gambling ring.
2. Fig. to put an end to something. The police broke the fight up. Walter's parents broke up the party at three in the morning.
break something up (into something)
to break something into smaller pieces. We broke the crackers up into much smaller pieces. Please break up the crackers into smaller pieces if you want to feed the ducks.
1. Lit. [for something] to fall apart; to be broken to pieces. (Typically said of a ship breaking up on rocks.) In the greatest storm of the century, theship broke up on the reef. It broke up and sank.
2. Go to break up (with someone).
3. [for married persons] to divorce. After many years of bickering, they finally broke up.
4. [for a marriage] to dissolve in divorce. Their marriage finally broke up.
5. to begin laughing very hard. The comedian told a particularly good joke, and the audience broke up. I always break up when I hear her sing. She is so bad!
break up (with someone)
to end a romantic relationship with someone. Tom broke up with Mary and started dating Lisa. We broke up in March, after an argument.
call someone or something up
to call someone, a group, or a company on the telephone. I will call them up and see what they have to say. Please call up the supplier.
call someone up
to request that someone or a group report for active military service. (See also call someone or something out.) The government called the reserve units up for active service. They called up another battalion.
call something up
to summon information from a computer. John used his laptop to call the information up. With a few strokes on the computer keyboard, Sally called up the figures she was looking for.
check up (on someone or something)
to determine the state of someone or something. Please don't check up on me. I can be trusted. I see no need to check up.
close someone up
to close a surgical wound at the end of a surgical procedure. Fred, would you close her up for me? Fred closed up the patient.
close something up
1. to close someone's business, office, shop, etc., temporarily or permanently. Tom's restaurant nearly went out of business when the health department closed him up. The health department closed up the restaurant.
2. to close something that is open, such as a door or a box. Please close the door when you leave.
1. Lit. [for an opening] to close completely. The door closed up and would not open again. The wound will close up completely in a day or so.
2. Fig. [for a place of business] to close for business. The store closed up and did not open until the next day.
cover someone or something up
to place something on someone or something for protection or concealment. Cover the pie up, so Terry won't see it. Cover up Jimmy so he doesn't get cold.
cover something up
1. Lit. to place some sort of cover on something. Please cover up that mess with a cloth. Cover it up.
2. Fig. to conceal a wrongdoing; to conceal evidence. They tried to cover the crime up, but the single footprint gave them away. She could not cover up her misdeeds.
crack someone or something up
to damage someone or something. (See also crack someone up.) Who cracked my car up? Who cracked up my car? Who was driving? The accident cracked him up a little.
crack someone up
to make someone laugh very hard; to make someone break out laughing. You and your jokes really crack me up. That comedian really knows how to crack up an audience.
crack something up
to crash something; to destroy something (in an accident). The driver cracked the car up in an accident. The pilot cracked up the plane.
1. to have a wreck. The plane cracked up and killed two of the passengers. Whose car cracked up on the expressway?
2. to break out in laughter. The whole audience cracked up. I knew I would crack up during the love scene.
3. Sl. to have a mental or emotional breakdown. The poor guy cracked up. It was too much for him. You would crack up, too, if you had been through all he went through.
4. an accident; a wreck. (Usually crack-up.) There was a terrible crack-up on the expressway. There were four cars in the crack-up.
cut someone or something up
Fig. to criticize someone or something severely. Jane is such a gossip. She was really cutting Mrs. Jones up. The professor really cut up my essay.
cut someone up
Fig. to make someone laugh. That comedian's routine really cut me up. Tommy's rude noises cut the whole class up, but not the teacher.
cut someone up
Fig. to make someone laugh. That comedian's routine really cut me up. Tommy's rude noises cut the whole class up, but not the teacher.
cut up (about someone or something)
Sl. emotionally upset about someone or something. She was all cut up about her divorce. You could see how cut up she was.
follow someone upand follow up (on someone)
to check on the work that someone has done. I have to follow Sally up and make sure she did everything right. I follow up Sally, checking on her work. I'll follow up on her.
follow something upand follow up (on something)
1. to check something out; to find out more about something. Would you please follow this lead up? It might be important. Please follow up this lead. I'll follow up on it. Yes, please follow up.
2. to make sure that something was done the way it was intended. Please follow this up. I want it done right. Please follow up this business. I'll follow up on it.
(on someone) Go to follow someone up.
(on someone or something) to find out more about someone or something. Please follow up on Mr. Brown and his activities. Bill, Mr. Smith has a complaint. Would you please follow up on it?
(on something) Go to follow something up.
hang something up
to return the telephone receiver to its cradle. (See also hang it up.) Please hang this up when I pick up the other phone. Please hang up the phone.
1. [for a machine or a computer] to grind to a halt; to stop because of some internal complication. Our computer hung up right in the middle of printing the report. I was afraid that my computer would hang up permanently.
2. to replace the telephone receiver after a call; to terminate a telephone call. I said good-bye and hung up. Please hang up and place your call again.
hang up(on someone or something)
1. and hang up (in someone's ear) to end a telephone call by returning the receiver to the cradle while the other party is still talking. She hung up on me! I had to hang up on all that rude talk.
2. to give up on someone or something; to quit dealing with someone or something. Finally, I had to hang up on Jeff. I can't depend on him for anything. We hung up on them because we knew we couldn't make a deal.
hook someone or something up(to someone or something) and hook someone or something up (with someone or something)
1. Lit. to attach someone or something to someone or something. The nurse hooked the patient up to the oxygen tubes. They hooked up the patient with the tubes.
hook someone up (with someone)
Fig. to arrange for someone to go out with someone. I hooked Alice up with Tom last year, and now they're getting married.
hook something up
to set something up and get it working. (The object is to be connected to a power supply, electronic network, telephone lines, etc.) Will it take long to hook the telephone up? As soon as they hook up the computer to the network, I can e-mail my friends.
screw someone or something up
Inf. to interfere with someone or something; to mess up someone or something. Try again and don't screw it up this time. You really screwed up my brother by not being on time.
screw someone up
Inf. to confuse someone mentally. Please don't screw me up again! You screwed up my train of thought.
screw something up
to attach something to a higher place by the use of screws. The bracket holding the shelf up has come loose. Will you please screw it up again? Please screw up this loose bracket.
1. Inf. to mess up. I hope I don't screw up this time. The waiter screwed up again.
2. Inf. a mess; a blunder; utter confusion. (Usually Screw-up.) This is the chef's screw-up, not mine. One more screw-up like that and you're fired.
(someone's) ups and downs
a person's good fortune and bad fortune. I've had my ups and downs, but in general life has been good to me. All people have their ups and downs.
1. Move or drive a vehicle backward, as in He told her to back up into the garage. [First half of 1800s]
2. Bring or come to a standstill, as in The water had backed up in the drains, or The accident had backed up traffic for miles. [First half of 1800s]
3. Support or strengthen, as in The photos were backed up with heavy cardboard so they couldn't be bent, or I'll back up that statement of yours. [Second half of 1700s]
4. Duplicate a file or program so that the original is not lost. For example, Every computer manual warns you to back up your work frequently in case of a power outage or computer failure . [Second half of 1900s]
1. Divide into many pieces; disintegrate. For example, Now break up the head of garlic into separate cloves. [Mid-1700s]
2. Interrupt the continuity of something, as in A short walk will break up the long morning.
3. Also, break it up. Scatter, disperse, as in The crowd broke up as soon as they reached the streets. [Late 1400s] This phrase is also used as an imperative, as in "Break it up!" shouted the police officer. [c. 1930]
4. Bring or come to an end, as in His gambling was bound to break up their marriage.
5. Also, break someone up. Burst into or cause one to burst into an expression of feeling, such as laughter or tears. For example, His jokes always break me up, or That touching eulogy broke us all up, or I looked at her and just broke up. The precise meaning depends on the context. This sense grew out of a usage from the early 1800s that meant "upset" or "disturb." [Colloquial; early 1800s]
1. Summon to military service, as in He was called up for active duty. [Late 1600s]
2. Cause to remember, bring to mind, as in These stories call up old times. [c. 1700] Also see call to mind.
3. Telephone someone, as in I'll call up the theater and find out about tickets. [Late 1800s]
4. Retrieve data from a computer memory, as in I asked him to call up the last quarter's sales figures. [Second half of 1900s]
see under check on.
Also, close up shop. Stop doing business, temporarily or permanently; also, stop working. For example, The bank is closing up all its overseas branches, or That's enough work for one day-I'm closing up shop and going home. [Late 1500s]
1. Wrap up or enfold in order to protect. For example, Be sure to cover up the outdoor furniture in case of rain, or It's cold, so be sure to cover up the baby. [Late 1800s]
2. Conceal something, especially a crime, as in The opposition accused the President of covering up his assistant's suicide. [c. 1920]
1. Suffer an emotional breakdown, become insane, as in He might crack up under the strain. This usage alludes to the result of cracking one's skull; from the early 1600s to crack alone was used in this way. [Slang; early 1900s]
2. Damage or wreck a vehicle or vessel. For example, I'm always afraid that I'll crack up the car.
3. Experience a crash, as in We cracked up on the freeway in the middle of the ice storm.
4. Also, crack someone up. Burst or cause to burst out laughing, as in The audience cracked up, or That joke really cracked me up. [Slang; c. 1940] Also see break up, def. 6. All of these expressions derive from crack in the sense of "break into pieces" or "collapse," a usage dating from the late 1600s. Also see cracked up.
1. Divide into smaller parts, break the continuity of, as in These meetings have cut up my whole day. [c. 1800]
2. Severely censure or criticize, as in The reviewer cut up the book mercilessly. [Mid-1700s]
3. be cut up. Be distressed or saddened, as in I was terribly cut up when she left. [Mid-1800s] Charles Dickens used this idiom in A Christmas Carol (1844): "Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event."
4. Behave in a playful, comic, or boisterous way, as in On the last night of camp the children usually cut up. [Late 1800s]
5. cut up rough. Act in a rowdy, angry, or violent way, as in After a beer or two the boys began to cut up rough. [Slang; first half of 1800s]
1. Carry to completion. For example, I'm following up their suggestions with concrete proposals. Also see follow through.
2. Increase the effectiveness or enhance the success of something by further action. For example, She followed up her interview with a phone call. [Late 1700s]
1. Ruin, botch, spoil. For example, Don't tell me you're going to fuck up again. It is also put as be fucked up, meaning "be ruined or spoiled," as in This entire project is fucked up. This vulgar usage dates from the early 1900s but did not become widespread until about 1940.
2. Act carelessly or foolishly, mess up, as in I'm sorry, I really fucked up when I invited them. [ Vulgar slang; c. 1940]
3. Break down, fail, as in If the flash mechanism fucks up again, I won't get a picture. [ Vulgar slang; c. 1980]
4. be fucked up. Be very confused or mentally ill; also, intoxicated. For example, He was so fucked up they had to hospitalize him, or What a party-I sure got fucked up. [ Vulgar slang; 1940s]
1. Suspend on a hook or hanger, as in Let me hang up your coat for you. [c. 1300]
2. Also, hang up on. Replace a telephone receiver in its cradle; end a phone conversation. For example, She hung up the phone, or He hung up on her. [Early 1900s]
3. Delay or hinder; also, become halted or snagged, as in Budget problems hung up the project for months, or Traffic was hung up for miles. [Second half of 1800s]
4. Have or cause to have emotional difficulties, as in Being robbed at gunpoint can hang one up for years to come. [Slang; early 1900s]
5. hung up on. Obsessed with, as in For years the FBI was hung up on Communist spies. [First half of 1900s]
6. hang up one's sword or gloves or fiddle . Quit, retire, as in He's hanging up his sword next year and moving to Florida. The noun in these expressions refers to the profession one is leaving- sword for the military, gloves for boxing, and fiddle for music-but they all are used quite loosely as well, as in the example.
7. hang up one's hat. Settle somewhere, reside, as in "Eight hundred a year, and as nice a house as any gentleman could wish to hang up his hat in" (Anthony Trollope, The Warden, 1855).
1. Assemble or wire a mechanism, as in Dick helped us hook up the stereo system. [1920s]
2. Connect a mechanism with a main source, as in The computer had not yet been hooked up to the mainframe. [1920s]
3. hook up with. Form a tie or association, as in She had hooked up with the wrong crowd. [Slang; mid-1900s]
1. Muster or summon up; see pluck up one's courage.
2. Make a mess of an undertaking; also, make a mistake, as in I really screwed up this report, or She said she was sorry, admitting that she had screwed up. Some authorities believe this usage is a euphemism for fuck up. [Slang; c. 1940]
3. Injure, damage, as in I screwed up my back lifting all those heavy books. [Slang]
4. Make neurotic or anxious, as in Her family really screwed her up, but her therapist has helped her a lot. [Slang; mid-1900s]
ups and downs
Good times and bad times, successes and failures, as in We've had our ups and downs but things are going fairly well now. This term was first recorded in 1659.
up sticksgo to live elsewhere. British informal
(keep your) ˈchin up(British English also keep your ˈpecker up old-fashioned) (spoken) used to tell somebody to stay cheerful in difficult circumstances: Chin up! Things will get better soon.
ˌup ˈsticks (and go, etc.)(British English, informal) leave your home in order to move to another one: Things weren’t working out for them here, so they upped sticks and went to Chicago.
ˌups and ˈdownstimes of success, happiness, etc. and times of failure, unhappiness, etc: I suppose every marriage has its ups and downs. ♢ I’ve watched the ups and downs of his business with great interest.
1. To move backward: We passed the house we were looking for, so we had to back up a little bit.
2. To move something or someone backward: I backed the car up against the garage wall. Let's back up the car to the curb.
3. To prove something to be true: There was not enough evidence to back up the theory. What I told you is true, and now I have even more evidence to back it up.
4. To support someone by confirming that they are telling the truth: We told our version of the events, certain that the witnesses would back us up. They won't back up anyone who is known for lying.
5. To provide help or support for someone or something: If I decide to take on the job, can I count on you to back me up? The political party backs up any candidate who follows its basic principles.
6. To cause to accumulate, especially due to an obstruction: The accident backed the traffic up for blocks. Something got stuck in the drain, and now the kitchen sink is backed up.
7. To make a copy of a computer program or file for use if the original is lost or damaged: I backed up the disk so that I wouldn't lose any data. Be sure to back your files up before you turn off the computer.
1. To divide something into pieces: He broke up a piece of chocolate and scattered the pieces on top of the cake. She took the damaged table outside and broke it up with an axe for use as firewood.
2. To separate or shatter into pieces: The falling rocket broke up before it hit the ground.
3. To cause a relationship or partnership to end: Personal tensions broke the rock band up. I'm not trying to break up their marriage.
4. To end a relationship or partnership; separate: I thought they would be married by the end of the year, but they broke up instead.
5. To cause a crowd or gathering to disperse: The protest rally was getting very big and noisy when the police came and broke it up. The teacher came outside to break up the group of children that were fighting.
6. To disperse: The crowd broke up after the concert was over.
7. To cause someone to laugh or cry very hard: That story that you told really broke me up!
8. To laugh or cry very hard: She broke up when I told her the joke. He broke up when he heard the sad news.
9. To be unclear because of technical difficulties. Used of radio and telephone signals: My radio started breaking up as I drove through the tunnel. There must be something wrong with your phone; your signal is breaking up!
10. To add variety to something: The vertical stripes break up the horizontal patterns on the wall. I take a short walk after lunch to break up the routine of the workday.
1. To shout something from a lower level to a higher one: Standing on the sidewalk, I called up to the people on the roof.
2. To summon someone from a lower level to a higher one: The speaker called members of the audience up to the stage to receive a prize. After I climbed to the top of the tower and determined that it was safe, I called up the others who had stayed behind.
3. To telephone someone or something: As soon as I heard the news, I called up my broker and told her to sell the stock. I called him up to ask if he was free for lunch.
4. To summon someone to active military service: The military has called up thousands of reserve troops for active duty. The reservists have begun training in case the military calls them up.
5. To cause someone to remember something; bring something to mind: The view of the river called up a painting I had once seen. The therapist was certain that I had repressed memories and that her therapy would call them up.
6. To bring something forth for action or discussion: At the meeting, the treasurer called up the budget proposal for review. Supporters of the legislation complained that the senator had never called it up for a vote.
7. To summon or draw on something: I called up all my courage and asked the boss for a raise.
1. To shut something completely: The doctor closed up the cut with stitches. I closed the box up with wire and tape.
2. To become shut completely: My eye closed up because of the infection.
3. To shut and lock a building for a period of time: It's my job to close up the store for the night because I'm always the last one to leave. At the end of August, we'll close the cottage up for the winter.
1. To spread or extend something over someone or something in order to protect or conceal: We covered up the furniture with a drop cloth before painting the walls. The children covered themselves up with leaves while playing hide and seek.
2. To conceal something, especially wrongdoing or error: The criminal tried to cover up the crime by destroying the evidence. I accidentally overcharged a customer, and my boss told me to cover it up.
3. To put on or wear clothing: My grandmother covers up before going outside to protect herself from the sun.
1. To damage something or someone, as in an accident: I cracked up the car when I hit a tree. We gave him a remote control plane for his birthday, but he cracked it up on his very first flight.
2. To become damaged or wrecked: The plane cracked up when it hit the ground.
3. To praise someone or something highly, especially incorrectly. Often used in the passive: I am simply not the genius I'm cracked up to be. His friend cracked him up to be a great mechanic, but I thought his work was shoddy.
4. To have a mental or physical breakdown: We were afraid that the pilot might crack up under the stress.
5. To laugh very hard: She cracked up when I told her the joke.
6. To cause someone to laugh very hard: The funny movie cracked us up. The comedian cracked up the audience.
1. To slice or chop something into smaller pieces: The electrician cut up the wires. We cut the newspapers up.
2. To wound someone by cutting or gashing, especially in multiple places: The mobster grabbed a knife and cut up the witness.
3. To behave in a playful, comic, or boisterous way; clown: That clown cut us all up. The new teacher cut up the class.
4. Slang To criticize someone or something severely: The teacher cut up the lazy student. The judge cut me up for arriving late.
1. To finish something by means of some final action: They followed the performance up with a stunning encore. The writer followed up his first book with a great sequel.
2. follow up on To enhance the effectiveness of something by means of further action: I followed up on the job interview with an email. Did you follow up on their request?
1. To suspend something on a hook or hanger: Please hang your jacket up in the closet. I hung up my bathrobe on the hook.
2. To replace a telephone receiver on its base or cradle: I hung up the phone and returned to my chores. Will you hang that phone up and get back to your homework?
3. To end a telephone conversation: I said goodbye to my mother and hung up.
4. To delay or impede something; hinder something: Budget problems hung up the project for months. Squabbling hung the contract talks up for weeks.
5. To become snagged or hindered: The fishing line hung up on a rock.
6. To stop doing or participating in some activity: They are planning to hang up their law practice after 40 years. Trying to find your keys in the snow is a lost cause—you might as well hang it up.
7. Slang To have emotional difficulties or inhibitions. Used passively: If you weren't so hung up about your job, you'd be more fun to be around.
8. Slang To be obsessed or consumed with something. Used passively: I'm still hung up on that sale I missed last week.
1. To connect or attach something to something else: We'll hook up these shelves to that wall. The plumber hooked the pipes up to the shower.
2. To assemble or wire up some mechanism: Could you help me hook up my stereo? Someone from the cable company stopped by to hook the television up.
3. To meet or associate with someone: We agreed to hook up after class. He hooked up with the wrong crowd.
4. Slang To get married: We finally hooked up after five years of living together.
5. Slang To become romantically involved with someone: I joined the dating service to try to hook up with someone.
6. Vulgar Slang To become sexually involved with someone.
1. To come together at a place, especially in order to accomplish something; meet: Let's meet up after the meeting and discuss this further.
2. meet up to To have some required level of quality: I think our performance will meet up to your expectations. I hope my new car will meet up to the demands of all the driving that I have to do for my job.
3. meet up with To come together with someone or something, especially in order to accomplish something; meet with someone or something: We'll meet up with the others later and decide where to eat dinner.
1. To make a mistake; blunder: I screwed up and delivered the package to the wrong address.
2. To injure, damage, or interfere negatively with something: Lifting those boxes really screwed up my back. I gave them detailed instructions, but they still screwed the project up.
3. To make someone neurotic or mentally disturbed: War can really screw up the survivors. Prison really screwed him up. She was screwed up by her parents' divorce.
4. To twist or deform something: The jester screwed up his face and gave a mocking reply. She screwed her eyes up and tried to read the sign.
5. To muster or summon up something: I screwed up my courage and went out on the stage.
in. to refuse to go through with something; to back out (of something). Fred backed up at the last minute, leaving me with twenty pounds of hot dogs.
1. in. to have a wreck. The plane cracked up and killed two of the passengers.
2. in. to break out in laughter. I knew I would crack up during the love scene.
3. in. to have a nervous breakdown. The poor guy cracked up. It was too much for him.
4. n. an accident; a wreck. (Usually crack-up.) There was a terrible crack-up on the expressway.
mod. having well-defined abdominal muscles. Andy works hard to try to get a gut that’s cut.
in. to mess up; to fail. (Taboo. Usually objectionable.) Don’t fuck up this time or you’re fired.
1. n. a problem or concern; an obsession. (Usually hang-up.) She’s got some serious hang-ups about cats.
2. in. to say no; to cancel out of something. If you don’t want to do it, just hang up. I’ll understand.
high upsand higher ups
n. the people in charge. One of the higher ups is coming down to talk to you.
See high ups
n. capsules of a barbiturate drug. (Drugs.) Walter took a few jack-ups and went on to work.
n. any food or drink that boosts energy, such as a drink of liquor, candy, soda pop. I can’t finish the day without a little pick-me-up at lunch.
1. in. to mess up. The waiter screwed up again.
2. n. a mess; a blunder; utter confusion. (see also screwed up.) This is the chef’s screw-up, not mine.