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work (oneself) up
1. To become or make oneself feel very nervous, distressed, or upset. You need to stop working yourself up about this job interview. Just be yourself and try your best. My mom always works herself up that we're going to be late for our flight if we don't get to the airport at least three hours ahead of time.
2. To make oneself mentally or emotionally prepared (to do something); to gather or summon up enough courage, conviction, or energy (to do something). I'm working myself up to telling Mary the truth, but I'm not quite ready yet. She worked herself up to leaving her job and moving to LA to pursue her dream.
1. To excite or arouse one's emotions. A noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "up." Try not to work up Mom too much. We just want to have a nice relaxing afternoon. I think you're working yourself up over nothing. I'm sure the doctor will tell you it's nothing.
2. To achieve a new level of ability, responsibility, etc., through continued effort. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "up." You can work up to the more advanced techniques once you've mastered the basics. Mr. Mahoney famously worked his way up from an entry level position to become the publisher.
3. To gradually build toward something, as a conclusion or climax. A: "What's your point?" B: "Just listen, I'm working up to it." The story simmers, slowly working up to a chilling climax.
4. To produce through effort or exertion. I really worked up an appetite on that hike. Let's grab something to eat.
5. To prepare or produce something, usually quickly or without being completely thorough. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "up." I can work up a draft of the script, but it won't be anywhere near finished. If you have time, work some slides up for the presentation.
6. To prepare someone for something, especially a medical procedure. A noun or pronoun can be used between "work" and "up." Can you cover the desk for me while I finish working up these patients? I'll be there as soon as I work Mr. Peterson up.
In a state of mental or emotional agitation. Often modified as "all worked up" or "really worked up." You're getting worked up over nothing—I'm sure the doctor will tell you it's nothing. Mom sounded really worked up when I spoke to her on the phone. The professor said she really needed to speak with me later, and now that has me all worked up that I might be failing the course!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
*worked up (over something)and *worked up (about something)
excited and agitated about something. (*Typically: be ~; get ~; get oneself ~.) Tom is all worked up over the tax increase. Don't get so worked up about something that you can't do anything about.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.