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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!
*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.