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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
  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.

  10. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    you couldn't make it up! used for saying that something is so unlikely or improbable it seems impossible for it to be true

    You couldn't make it up - the man is a walking parody.

    Submitted from United Kingdom on 25/11/2016
See also main entry: make
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to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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