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1. To refamiliarize oneself with a topic or issue. I need to brush up on factorials before attempting to teach them on Monday.
2. To improve the appearance of something. We need to brush up this old house before any prospective buyers get here.
brush something up
to improve one's knowledge of something or one's ability to do something. (See also brush up (on something).) I need to brush my French up a little bit. I need to brush up my French.
brush up (on something)
to improve one's knowledge of something or one's ability to do something. I need to brush up on my German. My German is weak. I had better brush up.
1. Clean, refurbish, as in We plan to get the house brushed up in time for the party. [c. 1600]
2. Also, brush up on. Review, refresh one's memory, as in Nell brushed up on her Spanish before going to Honduras, or I'm brushing up my knowledge of town history before I speak at the club. [Late 1700s]
1. To collect or dispose of something by a using a brush: I brushed up the crumbs from the table. The kids brushed the leaves up into a pile and played in it.
2. To refresh something or improve its quality or appearance, especially superficially or modestly: You could brush up your resume with a few style changes. I haven't spoken Italian in many years, but if I brushed it up a little, I think I could speak very well.
3. brush up on To refresh or improve one's facility with something: I brushed up on my Spanish by reading newspapers from Mexico.