work up to

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work up to something

1. . Lit. [for something] to build or progress to something. (Usually concerning the weather.) The sky is working up to some kind of storm. The weather is working up to something severe.
2. . Fig. [for someone] to lead up to something. You are working up to telling me something unpleasant, aren't you? I think I am working up to a good cry.
See also: up, work