Meaning of UP in English

I. up 1 S1 W1 /ʌp/ BrE AmE adverb , preposition , adjective

1 . TO A HIGHER POSITION towards a higher place or position OPP down :

We walked slowly up the hill.

She picked her jacket up off the floor.

paths leading up into the mountains

Tim had climbed up a tree to get a better view.

Put up your hand if you know the answer.

The water was getting up my nose.

Karen lay on her back, staring up at the ceiling.

2 . IN A HIGHER POSITION in a higher place or position OPP down :

John’s up in his bedroom.

a plane flying 30,000 feet up

Her office is just up those stairs.

The doctor’s assistant was up a ladder in the stockroom.

3 . TO BE UPRIGHT into an upright or raised position:

Everyone stood up for the national anthem.

Mick turned his collar up against the biting winds.

4 . ALONG in or to a place that is further along something such as a road or path SYN down :

She lives just up the street.

We walked up the road towards the church.

5 . NORTH in or towards the north:

They live up north.

We’re driving up to Chicago for the conference.

a stormy voyage up the east coast from Miami to Boston

6 . CLOSE very close to someone or something:

A man came up and offered to buy him a drink.

up to

She drove right up to the front door.

up against

The bed was up against the wall.

7 . TO MORE IMPORTANT PLACE used to show that the place someone goes to is more important than the place they start from:

Have you been up to London recently?

8 . RIVER towards the place where a river starts OPP down :

sailing up the Thames

The river steamers only went up as far as Mandalay.

9 . MORE at or towards a higher level or a greater amount OPP down :

Turn up the radio.

Violent crime went up by 9% last year.

Inflation is up by 2%.

up on

Profits are up on last year.


In written English, people often prefer to use rise rather than be/go up , because it sounds more formal:

Violent crime rose by 9% last year.

10 . WINNING British English beating your opponent by a certain number of points OPP down

two goals up/three points up etc

United were a goal up at half time.

11 . NOT IN BED not in bed:

Are the kids still up?

They stayed up all night to watch the game.

It’s time to get up (=get out of bed) .

It’s good to see you up and about again (=out of bed after an illness and moving around normally) .

12 . FINISHING used after certain verbs to show that something is completely finished, used, or removed:

We’ve used up all our savings.

The children had to eat up all their food.

After a month, the wound had almost healed up.

13 . CUTTING/DIVIDING used after certain verbs to show that something is cut, broken etc into pieces or divided into parts:

Why did you tear up that letter?

We still haven’t decided how to divide up the money.

14 . COLLECTING used after certain verbs to show that things are collected together:

Let’s just add up these figures quickly.

Could you collect up the papers?

15 . PART ON TOP used to say which surface or part of an object should be on top:

Put the playing cards right side up.

Isn’t that painting the wrong way up?

16 . ABOVE A LEVEL above and including a certain level, age, or amount:

All the women were naked from the waist up.

Children aged 12 and up must pay the full fare.

17 . up and down

a) backwards and forwards:

Ralph paced up and down the room, looking worried.

b) if someone is up and down, they sometimes feel well or happy and sometimes do not:

Jason’s been very up and down since his girlfriend left him.

c) to a higher position and then a lower position, several times:

They were all jumping up and down and screaming excitedly.

Shivers ran up and down my body.

look somebody up and down (=look at someone in order to judge their appearance or character)

Maisie looked her rival up and down with a critical eye.

18 . up to something

a) as much or as many as a certain amount or number but not more:

The Olympic Stadium will hold up to 80,000 spectators.

a process that can take anything up to ten days

b) ( also up till ) for the whole of a period until a certain time or date:

She continued to care for her father up to the time of his death.

We’ve kept our meetings secret up to now.

c) [in questions and negatives] clever, good, or well enough to do something:

I’m afraid Tim just isn’t up to the job (=he does not have the necessary ability) .

You don’t need to go back to school if you don’t feel up to it.

up to doing something

He’s not really up to seeing any visitors.

d) if something is up to a particular standard, it is good enough to reach that standard:

I didn’t think last night’s performance was up to her usual standard.

e) spoken doing something secret or something that you should not be doing:

The children are very quiet. I wonder what they’re up to.

He knew Bailey was up to something. But what?

I always suspected that he was up to no good (=doing something bad) .

19 . be up to somebody

a) used to say that someone can decide about something:

You can pay weekly or monthly – it’s up to you.

b) used to say that someone is responsible for a particular duty:

It’s up to the travel companies to warn customers of any possible dangers.

20 . FINISHED TIME if a period of time is up, it is finished:

I’m sorry, we’ll have to stop there. Our time is up.

21 . ROAD REPAIRS if a road is up, its surface is being repaired

22 . COMPUTER if a computer system is up, it is working OPP down :

There could well be a few problems before your new computer is up and running properly.

23 . up against something/somebody having to deal with a difficult situation or opponent:

He came up against a lot of problems with his boss.

Murphy will be really up against it when he faces the champion this afternoon.

24 . up for something

a) available for a particular process:

The house is up for sale.

This week 14 of Campbell’s paintings were put up for auction.

Even the most taboo subjects were up for discussion.

b) being considered for election or for a job:

Senator Frank Church was coming up for re-election that year.

She is one of five candidates up for the chief executive’s job.

c) appearing in a court of law because you have been ↑ accused of a crime:

Ron’s up for drinking and driving next week.

d) spoken willing to do something or interested in doing something:

We’re going to the pub later – are you up for it?

25 . something is up spoken if something is up, someone is feeling unhappy because they have problems, or there is something wrong in a situation:

I could tell by the look on his face that something was up.

something is up with

Is something up with Julie? She looks really miserable.

what’s up?

What’s up? Why are you crying?

26 . be well up in/on something ( also be up on something American English ) informal to know a lot about something:

I’m not all that well up in musical matters.

Conrad’s really up on his geography, isn’t he?

27 . be up before something/somebody informal to appear in a court of law because you have been ↑ accused of a crime:

He was up before the magistrates’ court charged with dangerous driving.

28 . be up to here British English ( also have had it up to here ) spoken to be very upset and angry because of a particular situation or person

be up to here with

I’m up to here with this job; I’m resigning!

29 . up the workers!/up the reds! etc British English spoken used to express support and encouragement for a particular group of people or for a sports team

30 . up yours! spoken not polite used as a very rude and offensive reply to someone who has said something that annoys you:

‘You’re not allowed to park here.’ ‘Up yours, mate!’

31 . somebody is (so) up himself/herself etc informal if you say that someone is up himself or up herself, you mean that they pay too much attention to themselves and what they do or what they look like – used to show disapproval

⇨ not be up to much at ↑ much 2 (8)

II. up 2 BrE AmE noun

1 . ups and downs informal the mixture of good and bad experiences that happen in any situation or relationship:

We have our ups and downs like all couples.

2 . be on the up British English spoken to be improving or increasing:

Business confidence is on the up.

3 . be on the up and up

a) British English informal to be becoming more successful:

a brilliant young player who is on the up and up

b) American English spoken if a person or business is on the up and up, they are honest and do things legally

III. up 3 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle upped , present participle upping )

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ live , ↑ outlive , ↑ relive , ↑ liven , ↑ up ; adjective : ↑ live , ↑ lively , ↑ living , ↑ liveable ; noun : ↑ liveliness , ↑ living , ↑ livelihood ; adverb : ↑ live ]

1 . [transitive] to increase the amount or level of something:

They’ve upped their offer by 5%.

2 . up and do something to suddenly do something different or surprising:

Without saying another word, he upped and left.

⇨ up the ante at ↑ ante 1 , ⇨ up sticks at ↑ stick 2 (11)

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.