Did you know?

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

come up

 - definitions and thesaurus

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.



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.

phrasal verb [intransitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theycome up
he/she/itcomes up
present participlecoming up
past tensecame up
past participlecome up
  1. 1
    to move towards someone, usually because you want to talk to them
    come up to:

    Strangers come up to him in the street and say how much they enjoy his books.

  2. 2
    if something such as a job comes up, it becomes available

    She’s hoping a vacancy will come up at the local college.

  3. 3
    if a problem comes up, it happens and needs to be dealt with immediately

    I’m going to have to cancel our lunch – something’s come up.

    1. a.
      to be mentioned and need to be considered

      A number of interesting points came up at today’s meeting.

    2. b.
      [always progressive] to be about to happen soon

      We’ve got a busy period coming up in a couple of weeks.

  4. 4
    to travel to a place that is further north or is larger or more important than the place you are leaving

    My mother’s coming up from England for the weekend.

  5. 7
    to be tall, deep, or long enough to reach a particular higher point or level
    come up to/as far as:

    The grass in the garden came up to her knees.

  6. 11
    to be judged in a court of law

    His case comes up next week.

See also main entry: come


… a teaching method in which groups of children learn independently using a computer linked to the internet

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a derogatory word used for referring to people in the banking and investment industry who are thought of as taking serious risks in order to increase their own earnings …

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