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1. verb To increase something gradually. A noun or pronoun can be used between "build" and "up." I've been putting $50 aside every month in an attempt to build up my savings.
2. verb To encourage or flatter someone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "build" and "up." Not getting that job left my son really discouraged, so I've been trying to build him up.
3. verb To become stronger or more muscular. A noun or pronoun can be used between "build" and "up." I'm trying to build up my leg muscles so that I can run even faster.
4. verb To develop an area with more buildings or businesses. A noun or pronoun can be used between "build" and "up." Wow, they've really built up that part of town—I remember when it was just a field!
5. verb To greatly raise expectations for something by praising or hyping it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "build" and "up." I thought that movie was really disappointing, possibly because my friends told me how amazing it was and built it up too much.
6. verb To accumulate over time. A noun or pronoun can be used between "build" and "up." You should wash your hair every day, unless you want oily residue building up. The dirty laundry is really building up—when was the last time you did the wash?
7. noun An accumulation of something. In this usage, the phrase is often hyphenated. I use so many products in my hair that I need to wash the build-up out at the end of the day. It looks like you've got a lot of build-up around the filter. It should run fine after I clean it.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
build someone or something up (into someone or something)
to develop or advance someone or something into a particular [desirable] kind of person or thing. The publicity people built her up into a singer whom everyone looked forward to hearing. The agent built up the local band into a top national act.
build someone or something up
1. Lit. to make someone or something bigger or stronger. Tom is lifting weights to build himself up for basketball. Tom needs to build up his upper body.
2. Fig. to advertise, praise, or promote someone or something. Theatrical agents work very hard to build up their clients. Advertising can build a product up so much that everyone will want it.
build someone up (for something)
Fig. to prepare someone for something; to bring a person into a state of mind to accept some information. We built them up for the challenge they were to face. We had to build up the woman before breaking the bad news.
build something up
1. Lit. to add buildings to an area of land or a neighborhood. They are really building this area up. There is no more open space. They built up the area over the years.
2. Fig. to develop, accumulate, or increase something, such as wealth, business, goodwill, etc. I built this business up through hard work and hope. She built up a good business over the years.
3. Fig. to praise or exalt something; to exaggerate the virtues of something. The master of ceremonies built the act up so much that everyone was disappointed when they saw it. He built up the act too much.
to increase; to develop. The storm clouds are building up. Better close the windows.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Fill an area with houses or other buildings, urbanize. For example, We want to protect the wetlands against those who want to build up the area. [c. 1400]
2. Gradually develop, increase in stages. For example, I want to build up my endurance for the race. [Early 1700s]
3. Accumulate or collect, as in A lot of rust has built up on the farm machinery. [Mid-1900s]
4. Increase, strengthen, develop toward, as in The sound built up until it was nearly deafening, or His argument was building up to a grand climax. [c. 1930]
5. Establish or enhance a reputation; praise or flatter. For example, Months before the official campaign could begin, they had been building up the senator's image . [c. 1930]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To develop or increase something in stages or by degrees: I'm building up my endurance for the big race by running every day. We built the family business up over many years.
2. To accumulate, collect or increase: Sediment is building up on the riverbank.
3. To become bigger, stronger, or bulkier, especially through exercise: I need to build up if I'm going to make the football team this year.
4. To bolster something: The company plans to build up their new product with a big advertising campaign. The interview went well and built up my hopes for getting the job.
5. To fill some region with buildings: There was a forest here before they started building up the area. The developer bought the farmland and built it up.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.