American English

Definition of up adverb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1For the special uses of up in phrasal verbs, look at the entries for the verbs. For example, break up is in the phrasal verb section at break. toward or in a higher position He jumped up from his chair. The sun was already up (= had risen) when they set off. They live up in the mountains. It didn't take long to put the tent up. I pinned the notice up on the wall. Lay the cards face up (= facing upward) on the table. You look nice with your hair up (= arranged on top of or at the back of your head). Up you go! (= said when lifting a child).
  2. 2to or at a higher level She turned the volume up. Prices are still going up (= rising). The Mets were 4 runs up in the top of the 7th inning. The wind is getting up (= blowing more strongly). Sales are up on last year. Language Bankincreasedescribing an increase The number of foreign students in the U.S. increased from 622,000 in 2009 to just over 672,000 in 2010. First-time student enrollments shot up/increased dramatically in 2010. 2010 saw a significant rise in student numbers. The number of foreign students increased by almost 8% compared with the previous year. The 2010 figure was 672,000, an increase of 8% from the previous year. The 2010 figure was 672,000, up 8%from the previous year. As the chart shows, this can partly be explained by a dramatic increase in students from China. The number of Chinese undergraduate students rose sharply from 81,000 in 2009 to 98,000 in 2010.
  3. 3to the place where someone or something is A car drove up and he got in. She went straight up to the door and knocked loudly.
  4. 4to or at an important place, especially a large city We're going up to New York for the day.
  5. 5to a place in the north of a country They've moved up north. We drove up to Maine to see my father.
  6. 6into pieces or parts She tore the paper up. How shall we divide up the work?
  7. 7completely We ate all the food up. The stream has dried up.
  8. 8so as to be formed or brought together The government agreed to set up a committee of inquiry. She gathered up her belongings.
  9. 9so as to be finished or closed I have some paperwork to finish up. Do your coat up; it's cold.
  10. 10(of a period of time) finished; over Time's up. Stop writing and hand in your papers.
  11. 11out of bed I stayed up late (= did not go to bed until late) last night.
  12. 12(informal) used to say that something is happening, especially something unusual or unpleasant I could tell something was up by the looks on their faces. What's up? (= What is the matter?) What's up with him? He looks furious. Is anything up? You can tell me. What's up? can just mean “What's new?” or “What's happening?” There may not be anything wrong.
  13. Idioms
    be up to somebody
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    to be someone's duty or responsibility; to be for someone to decide It's not up to you to tell me how to do my job. Shall we eat out or stay in? It's up to you.
    up against something (informal)
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    facing problems or opposition Teachers are up against some major problems these days. She's really up against it (= in a difficult situation).
      up and down
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    1. 1moving upward and downward The boat bobbed up and down on the water.
    2. 2in one direction and then in the opposite direction She was pacing up and down in front of her desk.
    3. 3sometimes good and sometimes bad My relationship with him was up and down.
    4. 4(informal) if you swear up and down that something is true, you say that it is definitely true
    up and running
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    (of a system, for example a computer system) working; being used By that time the new system should be up and running.
    up before somebody/something
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    appearing in front of someone in authority for a judgment to be made about something that you have done He came up before the judge for speeding.
      up for something
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    1. 1on offer for something The house is up for sale.
    2. 2being considered for something, especially as a candidate Two candidates are up for election.
    3. 3(informal) willing to take part in a particular activity We're going clubbing tonight. Are you up for it?
    up there (informal)
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    among or almost the best, worst, most important, etc. It may not have been the worst week of my life but it's up there. OK, it's not my absolute dream, but it's up there. These people can't live without the Internet—it's up there with air and water.
      up to something
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    1. 1as far as a particular number, level, etc. I can take up to four people (= but no more than four) in my car. The temperature went up to 95°F.
    2. 2(also up until something) not further or later than something; until something Read up to page 100. Up to now he's been very quiet.
    3. 3as high or as good as something Her latest book isn't up to her usual standard.
    4. 4(also up to doing something) physically or mentally capable of something He's not up to the job. I don't feel up to going to work today.
    5. 5(informal) doing something, especially something bad What's she up to? What've you been up to? I'm sure he's up to no good (= doing something bad).
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: up