Meaning of UP in English


The preposition is pronounced /ʌp/. The adverb and adjective are pronounced /ʌp/.

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Note: 'Up' is often used with verbs of movement such as ‘jump’ and ‘pull’, and also in phrasal verbs such as ‘give up’ and ‘wash up’.

Please look at category 22 to see if the expression you are looking for is shown under another headword.


If a person or thing goes up something such as a slope, ladder, or chimney, they move away from the ground or to a higher position.

They were climbing up a narrow mountain road...

I ran up the stairs and saw Alison lying at the top...

The heat disappears straight up the chimney.

≠ down


Up is also an adverb.

Finally, after an hour, I went up to Jeremy’s room...

Intense balls of flame rose up into the sky...

He put his hand up.

≠ down

ADV : ADV after v , oft ADV prep / adv


If a person or thing is up something such as a ladder or a mountain, they are near the top of it.

He was up a ladder sawing off the tops of his apple trees...

The Newton Hotel is halfway up a steep hill.

≠ down


Up is also an adverb.

...a research station perched 4000 metres up on the lip of the crater.

ADV : ADV after v


You use up to indicate that you are looking or facing in a direction that is away from the ground or towards a higher level.

Paul answered, without looking up...

Keep your head up, and look around you from time to time.

ADV : ADV after v


If someone stands up , they move so that they are standing.

He stood up and went to the window...

He got up and went out into the foyer.

ADV : ADV after v


If you go or look up something such as a road or river, you go or look along it. If you are up a road or river, you are somewhere along it.

A line of tanks came up the road from the city...

We leaned on the wooden rail of the bridge and looked up the river...

He had a relation who lived up the road.

≠ down



If you are travelling to a particular place, you can say that you are going up to that place, especially if you are going towards the north or to a higher level of land. If you are already in such a place, you can say that you are up there. ( mainly SPOKEN )

I’ll be up to see you tomorrow...

He was living up North...

I live here now, but I’ve spent all my time up in Swaziland.

ADV : ADV after v , be ADV , oft ADV prep / adv


If you go up to something or someone, you move to the place where they are and stop there.

The girl ran the rest of the way across the street and up to the car...

On the way out a boy of about ten came up on roller skates...

He brought me up to the bar and introduced me to Dave.

ADV : ADV after v , usu ADV to n


If an amount of something goes up , it increases. If an amount of something is up , it has increased and is at a higher level than it was.

They recently put my rent up...

Tourism is up, jobs are up, individual income is up...

Germany’s rate has also risen sharply, up from 3 percent to 4.5 percent...

Over the decade, women in this category went up by 120%.

≠ down

ADV : ADV after v , be ADV , oft ADV to/by amount


If you are up , you are not in bed.

Are you sure you should be up?...

Soldiers are up at seven for three hours of exercises.

ADJ : v-link ADJ


If a period of time is up , it has come to an end.

The moment the half-hour was up, Brooks rose...

When the six weeks were up, everybody was sad that she had to leave.

= over

ADJ : v-link ADJ


You say that a road is up when it is being repaired and cannot be used. ( BRIT )

Half the road was up in Leadenhall Street, so their taxi was obliged to make a detour.

ADJ : v-link ADJ


If a baseball player is up , it is their turn to bat.

ADJ : v-link ADJ


If a computer or computer system is up , it is working. Compare down .

ADJ : v-link ADJ


People sometimes say ‘ Up yours! ’ as an insult when you have said something to annoy them or make them angry. ( INFORMAL, RUDE )

‘Up yours,’ said the reporter and stormed out into the street.



If someone who has been in bed for some time, for example because they have been ill, is up and about , they are now out of bed and living their normal life.

How are you Lennox? Good to see you up and about.

PHRASE : v-link PHR


If you say that something is up , you mean that something is wrong or that something worrying is happening. ( INFORMAL )

What is it then? Something’s up, isn’t it?...

Mr. Gordon stopped talking, and his friends knew something was up.

PHRASE : V inflects


If you say to someone ‘ What’s up? ’ or if you tell them what’s up , you are asking them or telling them what is wrong or what is worrying them. ( INFORMAL )

‘What’s up?’, I said to him.—‘Nothing much,’ he answered...

Let’s sit down and then you can say what’s up.



If you move up and down somewhere, you move there repeatedly in one direction and then in the opposite direction.

He continued to jump up and down like a boy at a football match...

I strolled up and down thoughtfully before calling a taxi...

There’s a lot of rushing up and down the gangways.

PHRASE : PHR after v


If you have ups and downs , you experience a mixture of good things and bad things.

Every relationship has a lot of ups and downs...

The organisation has had its ups and downs.

...the ups and downs of parenthood.



If something is on the up or on the up and up , it is becoming more successful. ( BRIT INFORMAL )

They’re saying that the economy is on the up...

It was a great year for music, people had money, opportunities, hope–things were on the up and up.

PHRASE : usu v-link PHR


If someone is on the up and up , they are honest and sincere. ( AM INFORMAL )

I’m a pretty good judge of men. If you’re honest and on the up and up, I’ll be able to tell it.

PHRASE : usu v-link PHR


up in arms: see arm



Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Please look at category 9 to see if the expression you are looking for is shown under another headword.


If you feel up to doing something, you are well enough to do it.

Those patients who were up to it could move to the adjacent pool...

His fellow-directors were not up to running the business without him.



To be up to something means to be secretly doing something that you should not be doing. ( INFORMAL )

Why did you need a room unless you were up to something?...

They must have known what their father was up to...



If you say that it is up to someone to do something, you mean that it is their responsibility to do it.

It was up to him to make it right, no matter how long it took...

I’m sure I’d have spotted him if it had been up to me...

PREP-PHRASE : oft v-link PREP n to-inf


Up until or up to are used to indicate the latest time at which something can happen, or the end of the period of time that you are referring to.

Please feel free to call me any time up until half past nine at night...

Up to 1989, the growth of per capita income averaged 1 per cent per year.



You use up to to say how large something can be or what level it has reached.

Up to twenty thousand students paid between five and six thousand dollars...

It could be up to two years before the process is complete.



If you say that something is not up to much , you mean that it is of poor quality. ( BRIT INFORMAL )

My own souffles aren’t up to much...

PHRASE : v-link PHR


If someone or something is up for election, review, or discussion, they are about to be considered.

A third of the Senate and the entire House are up for re-election.



If you are up against something, you have a very difficult situation or problem to deal with.

The chairwoman is up against the greatest challenge to her position...

They were up against a good team but did very well.



up to your ears: see ear

up to par: see par

up to scratch: see scratch



( ups, upping, upped)


If you up something such as the amount of money you are offering for something, you increase it.

He upped his offer for the company...

= increase

VERB : V n


If you up and leave a place, you go away from it, often suddenly or unexpectedly.

One day he just upped and left.

VERB : V and v

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.