Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
1. Literally, to put and store inside a bottle. A noun can be used between "bottle" and "up" or after "up." I've started bottling up some of my own homemade jam, since it's actually cheaper than buying it from a store. A lot of people began bottling water up during the Y2K panic.
2. To hold onto something inside, especially an emotion, and keep it from being expressed or released openly. A noun can be used between "bottle" and "up" or after "up." If you bottle your anger up, it will only grow worse, and soon you won't be able to contain it. Please talk to me, don't bottle up your emotions like that.
bottle something up
1. Lit. to put some sort of liquid into bottles. She bottled her homemade chili sauce up and put the bottles in a box. She bottled up a lot of the stuff.
2. Fig. to constrict something as if it were put in a bottle. The patrol boats bottled the other boats up at the locks on the river. The police bottled up the traffic while they searched the cars for the thieves.
3. and bottle something up (inside (someone)) Fig. to hold one's feelings within; to keep from saying something that one feels strongly about. Let's talk about it, John. You shouldn't bottle it up. Don't bottle up your problems. It's better to talk them out. Don't bottle it up inside you. Don't bottle up all your feelings.
Repress, contain, hold back; also, confine or trap. For example, The psychiatrist said Eve had been bottling up her anger for years, or The accident bottled up traffic for miles. This idiom likens other kinds of restraint to liquid being contained in a bottle. [Mid-1800s]
1. To store something by putting it in a bottle or bottles: We will need an hour to bottle up the apple juice. After the wine is fully fermented, we bottle it up and let it age.
2. To contain or suppress something, especially emotions, and not express or reveal them: If you keep bottling up what you're thinking, we'll never be able to help you. I was angry, but I bottled my feelings up.