Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

up - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective, adverb, preposition     up pronunciation in American English
Up can be used in the following ways:
as an adverb: Their voices could be heard up in our room.Mary looked up at him.I stood up.
as a preposition: He climbed up the steps.I set off up the road.
as an adjective: the up escalator
after the verb “to be”: He was up early the next morning.Food prices are up.I knew something was up.
  1. 1
    in or toward a higher position
    1. a.
      from a lower place to a higher place

      Could you help me carry this old trunk up to the attic?

      I got off my bike and walked up the hill.

      He held the cup up to his lips and slowly sipped the tea.

      Pick your clothes up off the floor and put them away.

      He raised the child up above his head, which she seemed to enjoy.

      Put your hand up if you know the answer.

    2. b.
      in a high place, or in a higher place than you, for example near the top of a hill or in the top part of a house

      She’s up in the bathroom.

      He was up the ladder, cleaning the windows.

      Further up the hill was a small farm.

      The hotel is 1,500 feet up in the Black Mountains.

    3. c.
      looking, turning, or pointing away from the ground or toward a higher position

      We rolled on our backs and looked up at the sky.

      I turned my face up toward the sun.

      Lynn glanced up from the book she was reading.

      A path leads up from the beach to the top of the cliff.

  2. 2
    upright, or moving toward an upright position

    He stood up and pulled a chair out for me to sit on.

    I found Hattie sitting up in bed.

    The dog stopped with its ears up and nose twitching.

  3. 3
    in or toward the north of a region or country

    We’re going up to Seattle next weekend.

    Max is up north fishing with some friends.

  4. 4
    moving near to someone or something and then stopping

    One of the salespeople came up and asked if she could help.

    up to:

    Two women ran up to us, shouting in Spanish.

    Just go up to him and say hello.

  5. 5
    along a river, road, etc.
    1. a.
      moving along a road, street, path, etc., or at a point along it in a direction away from you

      Further up the road was a little country inn.

      If you go up the street two blocks, you’ll see the hospital on your left.

    2. b.
      moving along a river in the opposite direction that the water is flowing, or at a point along it in this direction

      We went on a long trip up the Amazon.

      Up the river, in the distance, was the rescue boat.

  6. 6
    increased in amount/level
    1. a.
      at or toward an increased number, level, or amount

      Total new car sales were up $3 million over last year.

      go up:

      Fuel prices went up by 3 percent.

    2. b.
      becoming louder, stronger, or more active

      Billy, will you turn the volume on the TV up – I can’t hear anything.

  7. 7
    awake and out of bed

    We were up bright and early the next morning.

    Get up! It’s almost 10:00.

    I was up till midnight preparing the presentation.

  8. 8
    divided or broken into small pieces or equal parts

    The prize money will be divided up among the team members.

    Divorce settlements often involve property that can’t be split up easily.

  9. 9
    completely done or used so that there is nothing left

    Eat up all your dinner.

    I think it was selfish of me, using up all her free time like that.

    The stream dries up in summer.

  10. 10
    used for saying that a period of time has ended

    Put your pencils down! Time’s up!

  11. 11
    fastened or closed completely

    She kept Albert’s letters in a bundle tied up with ribbon.

    Did you lock the house up before you left?

    Synonyms and related words
  12. 12
    collected, added, or brought together in one place

    She was busy gathering up her papers.

    Our profits are quite large when you add them all up.

  13. 13
    informal above a particular amount, or older than a particular age

    Women of sixty and up get a free bus pass for off-peak trips.

  14. 14
    a computer system that is up is working properly

    By ten o’clock we had the computers up again.

  15. 15
    in a place that is near where you are

    He’ll be up at the school talking to parents.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a rainbow produced when water droplets in the air reflect light from the moon rather than the sun

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

platform capitalism

a way of doing business that involves recruiting large numbers of people who work for themselves using the company's platform, as used by companies such as Uber, Deliveroo and the like

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play