A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Are You UP for This?

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Are You UP for This?
How Many Different Ways Can You Use the Word "UP"?

Original blurb on "UP" was received via widely circulated email on 31 December 2010.
Please contact Webmaster at bydewey at yahoo dot com to add more uses of "UP" to this page.


This two-letter word in English has more meanings than any other two-letter word.

"UP" is listed in the dictionary1, dictionary2, and dictionary3 as an Adverb [adv], Preposition [prep], Adjective [adj], Noun [n] or Verb [v]. It is easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election. Why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

Did you know that Singer Taylor Swift loves getting dolled UP for glamorous events? Canada's former prime minister Jean Chrétien was UP and about shortly after brain surgery? And Susan Boyle, the world's most famous runner-UP, was released from a London clinic where she was treated for a nervous breakdown?

You may wish to butter UP the boss, move UP the corporate ladder, shore UP your wealth, and move into an Upscale neighborhood. Or, you can open UP your wallet and donate some money to the poor who are UP in arms over the cost of living going UP.

We call UP our friends, turn UP the volume, brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers, clean UP the kitchen, give somebody a thumbs UP, turn UP your nose on someone, and funny jokes crack me UP. We lock UP the house and fix UP the old car.

People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

A house can burn UP as it burns down.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look UP the word "UP" in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

Don't mess it UP, foul it UP, or screw it UP.

Now I'll wrap it Up and shut UP, for my time is UP. Send this on to everyone you look UP in your address book ... or not ... it's UP to you to do what you wish with this info on "UP".

See also: Ode to Plurals and English: A Language for the Verbally Insane by Eugenie A. Nidia.