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In Definitions 1 and 2, "rev" is a shortening of "revolution."
1. Of a motor, to increase very quickly or suddenly in rotational speed. Every night, at exactly 2 AM, I hear the sound of motorcycle engines revving up outside my house.
2. To increase the speed of a motor, especially very quickly or suddenly. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "rev" and "up." The driver beside me started revving up his engine while we waited for the light to turn green, egging me on to race him. Don't rev the motor up like that—it's really disturbing for everyone who lives in this neighborhood.
3. To begin rapidly increasing in intensity, activity, or amount. Sales of the product were pretty low for the first few months, but they really revved up once that famous rapper started talking about it on social media. Public interest in the election began revving up after one of the candidates made some controversial remarks during a radio interview.
4. To cause something to begin rapidly increasing in intensity, activity, or amount. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "rev" and "up." We started revving production up after it became clear that there was great public demand for the toy. We need to find a way to rev up public engagement with this issue.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
rev something up
to make an idling engine run very fast, in short bursts of power. Hey! Stop revving it up! I wish that Tom wouldn't sit out in front of our house in his car and rev up his engine.
to increase in amount or activity. Production revved up after the strike. We're hoping business will rev up soon.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Increase the speed or rate of, enliven, stimulate, as in Bill revved up the motor, or They looked for ways to rev up the ad campaign. The verb rev is an abbreviation for revolution, alluding to the rate of rotation of an engine. The idiom dates from about 1920 and has been used figuratively since the mid-1900s.
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 make some engine work faster by injecting it with fuel: The mechanic revved up the engine before the race. We revved the engine up and sped off.
2. To work faster due to an injection of fuel: The old car's engine revved up when I pushed the accelerator.
3. To make someone or something more lively or productive: We had a pep rally to rev ourselves up for the game. The administration is making efforts to rev up the economy.
4. To increase in rate, amount, or activity: Production revved up after the war started.
5. To improve the quality of something: We need to add something to this batter to rev up the flavor. Those candles really revved up the festive atmosphere.
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.
mod. revolting. Fix you hair! You are so rev!
rev something up
tv. to speed up an engine in short bursts. Tom sat at the traffic light revving up his engine.
mod. excited, perhaps by drugs. The kids were all revved up, ready to party.
See revved up
See also: rev
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.