prop (someone or something) up

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prop (someone or something) up

1. To lean someone or something against someone or something else. I propped him up against the side of the building until our taxi arrived. Just prop 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. The frame of my bed broke right in the center, so I've been propping it up with a stack of books. I propped up the picture frame with a piece of cardboard to keep it from tipping over.
3. To give someone or something support in order to remain active or keep from failing, especially in a temporary, partial, or secretive capacity. 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.
See also: prop, up

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.
See also: prop, up

prop up

v.
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.
See also: prop, up