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make up - definition and synonyms


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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.



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phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theymake up
he/she/itmakes up
present participlemaking up
past tensemade up
past participlemade up
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  1. 1
    [transitive] to invent an explanation for something, especially in order to avoid being punished or embarrassed

    He made up some excuse about the dog eating his homework.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to invent a story, poem etc

    They made up a little poem and wrote it in the card.

  3. 3
    [transitive]make up something to combine together to form something larger

    Women make up 40 per cent of the workforce.

    This book is made up of twelve separate short stories.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to prepare or arrange something

    I’ll get the chemist to make this prescription up for you.

    Could you make up a list of all the things we need?

    make up a bed:

    You should stay the night – I’ll make up a bed for you.

  5. 5
    [transitive]make up something to make an amount or a number complete

    I’m paying £500, and Dave is making up the rest.

  6. 6
    [intransitive] to become friendly with someone again after an argument

    Why don’t you two forget your differences and make up?

    kiss and make up:

    They argue a lot, but they always kiss and make up.

    make up with:

    Tom still hasn’t made up with Alice.

  7. 7
    [transitive] to work at different times from usual because you have not worked enough at the normal times

    Sorry I’m late; I’ll make up the time this evening.

  8. 8
    [transitive] to produce something from cloth

    You could make up some new curtains from that material.

  9. 9
    [transitive] to put make-up on someone’s face

    They made my face up to look like a clown.

See also main entry: make


to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

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the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

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