prop up(redirected from propping someone up)
1. To place or lean someone or something (against something else) in such a way as to keep them or it upright. A noun or pronoun can be used between "prop" and "up." I propped Tom up on the wall of the bar while we waited for a taxi to take us home. Just prop up the rake against the shed when you're done.
2. To help someone or something remain upright with a prop or crutch of some kind. A noun or pronoun can be used between "prop" and "up." The frame of my bed broke right in the center, so I've been propping it up with a stack of books. I put extra pillows around the patient to help prop him up.
3. To give someone or something support in order to remain active or keep from failing, especially in a temporary, partial, or secretive capacity. A noun or pronoun can be used between "prop" and "up." The American film industry props up the entire country's economy—if they decided to go elsewhere to film, hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs overnight. My father propped my business up for the first few years to help keep me afloat. It's only just now that I can begin paying him back. Of course it's now known that the United States had been propping dictatorships and shadow presidents up all around the world in order to protect American interests.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
prop someone or something up (against someone or something)
to stand or lean someone or something against someone or something. He was so tired I had to prop him up against the wall while I looked for the door key. I propped up the man against the wall. I propped the mop up against the wall.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To support something with or as if with a prop: I propped up the leg of my desk with some cardboard to keep it from wobbling. She sat down in the chair and propped her feet up on the table. He propped the ladder up against the wall and climbed up to the roof.
2. To provide temporary or partial support to something that is failing or needs assistance: Foreign investors propped up the currency by purchasing more government bonds. The company would go bankrupt if the government didn't prop it up with special tax breaks.
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.