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1. To recover from the effects of alcohol or drugs on one's body or mind. I need to sober up soon—I can't go into work staggering around like this! We decided to go take a walk in the cool night air to sober up a little before heading home.
2. To help or cause someone to recover from the effects of alcohol or drugs on one's body or mind. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sober" and "up." Go make a pot of coffee! We need to sober Kevin up before his parents come back.
3. To cease being happy, merry, flippant, or distracted; to become serious or solemn. When the chief put the pictures of the victims up on the white board, the whole room sobered up.
4. To cause or compel someone to cease being happy, merry, flippant, or distracted; to make someone serious or solemn. We were all goofing around during practice until the coach threw a chair through the window—that sobered us up straight away.
5. To give up drinking alcohol or taking drugs as a means of dealing with or overcoming one's addiction. I sobered up ten years ago to save my marriage, and I haven't looked since. Instead of simply throwing everyone in prison, why not offer programs to help some of these addicts sober up and start leading productive lives?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
sober someone up
1. Lit. to take actions that will cause a drunken person to become sober. some coffee ought to sober him up. He tried to sober himself up because he had to drive home. They tried to sober up the guys who had been out all night.
2. Fig. to cause someone to face reality. The harsh reality of what had happened sobered him up immediately. The arrival of the police sobered up all the revelers.
to recover from alcohol or drug intoxication. Barlowe had one hour to sober up and get to the station. It took him a while to sober up.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To have one's feeling of intoxication subside: I waited until I had sobered up and then drove home.
2. To cause someone's feeling of intoxication to subside: The jailer grabbed a pail of water and a cup of coffee to sober up the drunk. That nap really sobered me up, but I still have a hangover.
3. To overcome an alcohol or drug addiction: It wasn't until I had sobered up that I was able hold a steady job.
4. To become serious, grave, or solemn: Everyone sobered up and felt ashamed when they heard the bad news.
5. To make someone or something serious, grave, or solemn: The news of the disaster sobered them up. The accident sobered up the workers, reminding them how dangerous their job was.
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.
in. to recover from alcohol or drug intoxication. Marlowe had one hour to sober up and get to the station.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.