Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to show up: show out
show (someone or something) up as (something)
To reveal someone's or something's true nature, character, or properties. The books shows up the CEO as a megalomaniac only concerned with increasing his own wealth and power. The senator showed the legislation up as an attempt to enrich the nation's wealthiest citizens.
1. To be apparent, visible, or detected. Please fill in your exam with blue or black ink—pencil will not show up correctly when we scan the papers. The photo was a bit overexposed, so we don't really show up in it very well. I'm curious whether my scar tissue will show up in this scan.
2. To appear or arrive. Tom showed up at my door with flowers to apologize for his rude remarks. The villain is foreshadowed early on, but he doesn't show up until the very end of the book.
3. By extension, to make an admirable effort. The notion is of one making an appearance as their best self (or their usual self, if a previous effort had been not up to standard). Way to show up, Dan. I'm really proud of the effort you put in this semester. The team has really shown up in this second half, coming back from a huge deficit.
4. To outperform or outclass someone; to make someone look unskilled or inadequate by comparison with one's effort or talent. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "show" and "up." I was quite proud of my performance, but the next act came out and completely showed me up. Tom is forever trying to show up the professor by pointing out flaws in his lectures.
show someone up
to make someone's faults or shortcomings apparent. John is always trying to show someone up to make himself look better. John's excellent effort really showed up Bill, who didn't try very hard at all.
to appear; to arrive. Where is John? I hope he shows up soon. When will the bus show up? Weeds began to show up in the garden.
1. Be clearly visible, as in The print doesn't show up against this dark background. [Late 1800s]
2. Put in an appearance, arrive, as in I wonder if he'll show up at all. [Late 1800s]
3. Expose or reveal the true character of, as in This failure showed up their efforts as a waste of time. [Early 1800s]
4. Also, show someone up. Surpass someone in ability, outdo someone, as in John's high score on that math test really showed up the rest of the class. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]
1. To be clearly visible: Will the blue pencil marks show up in the photocopy?
2. To make an appearance; arrive: Everyone was waiting for the bride to show up.
3. To expose or reveal the true character or nature of someone or something: The other group's success showed up their efforts as a waste of time. I showed the challenger up as a braggart.
4. To surpass someone or something, as in ability or intelligence: The students were always trying to show up the teacher with a fact she didn't know. After his performance, a virtuoso came out on stage and showed him up.