Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. verb To compose or constitute. Simple syrup is made up of just sugar and water. Americans believe that the 50 states make up a union that is greater than the sum of its parts.
2. verb To contrive something that is not true or real; to fabricate. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "make" and "up." Julie finally admitted to the principal that her turtle did not eat her homework, and that she had made the whole thing up. It turns out that the reporter simply made up the statistics—they had no basis in reality.
3. verb To create something based on one's imagination. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "make" and "up." A: "How did you come up with that character? Is he based on someone you know?" B: "No, I just made him up." The chef is known for making up dishes using unusual flavor profiles.
4. verb To reconcile or resolve differences. I'm glad to see you two have finally made up. It was awkward with you fighting all the time.
5. verb To construct, assemble, or produce something. I'll have Janet make up a few packets for you before you leave.
6. verb To apply makeup to someone or oneself. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "make" and "up." We'll need 10 minutes to make her up before she's ready to go on air. I like to make myself up even if I'm just going out to buy milk—you never know who you're going to run into. You'll be amazed at the difference after they make up Hank as the lizard man.
7. verb To complete an activity, especially an exam, that one had previously missed or neglected to do. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "make" and "up." I know you were out sick, but you'll still need to make up this test. I have a lot of work to make up at the office, so I'm going to stay a little late tonight.
8. verb To compensate for a previous discrepancy or transgression. I'm sorry I missed your game. How about I make it up to you with some ice cream? I hope this makes up for last time.
9. verb To order or arrange something; to get something ready for someone's use. Please be sure to make up her dressing room before she gets here.
10. noun An exam for those who missed the first time it was administered. In this usage, the phrase is usually spelled as one word. I was out sick for the test so I'm going to have to take the makeup.
make (oneself) up
to put makeup on oneself. I have to make up now. I go on stage in ten minutes. I will make myself up. I don't need your help.
make someone up
to put makeup on someone. You have to make the clowns up before you start on the other characters in the play. Did you make up the clowns?
make something up
1. to redo something; to do something that one has failed to do in the past. Can I make the lost time up? Can I make up the test that I missed?
2. to assemble something. We will ship the parts to China where we will make up the computers with cheap labor. (See also make the bed (up).) Have they finished making up the pages for the next edition of the magazine?
3. to think up something; to make and tell a lie. That's not true! You just made that up! I didn't make it up! You made up that story!
4. to mix something up; to assemble something. John: Is my prescription ready? Druggist: No, I haven't made it up yet. I'll make up your prescription in a minute.
make up (with someone)
to reconcile with someone; to end a disagreement (with someone). Bill and Max decided to make up. They made up with each other and are now very good friends.
make up something
to constitute something. (See also make something up.) Two chapters make up this volume. Over forty freight cars made up the train.
make up(to someone)
1. to apologize to someone. It's too late to make up tome. I think you should go make up to ferry.
2. to try to become friends with someone. Look how the cat is making up to Richard! Jimmy is making up to Donna, and she doesn't even notice.
to put on makeup. I have to go make up before Joe comes to pick me up.
make it up
see under make up.
1. Put together, construct or compose, as in The druggist made up the prescription, or The tailor said he could make up a suit from this fabric. This usage was first recorded in 1530.
2. Constitute, form, as in One hundred years make up a century. [Late 1500s]
3. Change one's appearance; apply cosmetics. For example, He made himself up as an old man. [c. 1800]
4. Devise a fiction or falsehood; invent. For example, Mary is always making up stories for her children, or Is that account true or did you make it up? This usage was first recorded in 1828.
5. Compensate for, provide for a deficiency, as in Can you make up the difference in the bill? or What he lacks in height he makes up in skill. This usage was first recorded in 1538. Also see make up for lost time.
6. Repeat a course, take a test or do an assignment at a later time because of previous absence or failure. For example, Steve will have to make up calculus this summer, or The professor is letting me make up the exam tomorrow.
7. Also, make it up. Resolve a quarrel, as in The Sweeneys argue a lot but they always make up before going to sleep, or Will you two ever make it up? The first usage was first recorded in 1699, the variant in 1669.
8. Put in order, as in We asked them to make up the room for us, or Can you make up another bed in this room? [Early 1800s] Also see the subsequent idioms beginning with make up.
1. To constitute or form something: Ten years make up a decade. The committee is made up of scientists and politicians.
2. To put something together; construct, arrange, or compose something: The doctor made up a prescription for my cough. We can make a bed up in the living room if you'd like to stay.
3. To prepare or alter one's appearance by applying cosmetics: The makeup artist made up the actor and sent him on to wardrobe. After she made herself up, she put on her dress and went downstairs.
4. To devise some fiction or falsehood; invent something: If you don't know any scary stories, just make one up. I didn't want to go to the party, so I made up an excuse.
5. To compensate for something, such as a previous debt or bad behavior: They didn't charge me the right amount last month, but made up the difference in this month's bill. I'm sorry I forgot your birthday—I'll make it up to you by taking you out to dinner.
6. To take some examination or course again or at a later time because of previous absence or failure: When will you make up the exam that you missed? If you fail the course, you must make it up over the summer.
7. To resolve a quarrel or conflict: My husband and I often fight about money, but we always make up right away. I made up with my sister after several years of not speaking to her.
8. make up to To make ingratiating or fawning overtures to someone: I have seen you make up to the boss, hoping to get a promotion.
9. To set something in order: I'll make up the bedroom before the guests arrive. We made the room up with clean linens and fresh flowers.