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Ever Think About The Word-UP

Updated on February 7, 2012

Hello There, VivBounty here with one of the quirky words of the English language. The word up is just one of many which give folks trying to learn English difficulty.

As I mentioned in a comment on another hub, we have words in the English language which can have many meanings. One such tiny word is the 'up'.

Dictionary lists the definition as follows:

up  [uhp] Show IPA adverb, preposition, adjective, noun, verb, upped, up⋅ping.

It's easy to understand up, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake up?

At a meeting, why does a topic come up ? Why do we speak up, and why are the officers up for election and why is it up to the secretary to write up a report? We call up our friends and brighten up a room,

We polish up the silver, warm up the leftovers and clean up the kitchen. We lock the house up and some guys fix up an old car.

At other times this little two-letter word has a real special meaning. People stir up trouble, line up for tickets, work up an appetite, and think up excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed up is special.

Here is a conflicting use of the word up:

A drain must be opened up because it is stopped up or blocked up.

We open up a store in the morning but we close it up at night.

No wonder folks are so mixed up about the word up!

I invite you to look up the word up in as many online and printed dictionaries as you can find to see just how many uses and ways this little word is used. You will see that it takes up a quarter to a half of the page and I bet you find about 30 uses of the word. If you are really keen, you might even find 100 or more uses and ways to use the word up.

Here are some more:

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding up . When the sun comes out we say it is clearing up. When it rains, it wets up the earth. When it does not rain for awhile, things dry up.

If this doesn't bore you too much, I may share with you another funny group of words, which have the opposite effect. Whereas up is one word with many meanings, these different words all have the same meaning. Look these words up and see if you can explain the differences between them:

  • under
  • underneath
  • below
  • beneath

One reason for this may possibly be that some words in English have several roots, i.e. Latin, French, German and now as the world gets smaller, I suspect words from many more languages will be imported.

In my travels, I have had my share of challenges with the combination of languages, quite often resorting to gestures in the absence of a translation dictionary but I wouldn't trade the cultural experiences for anything in the world. 

Prosperous Blessings,

Fantastic Travel


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    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 5 years ago from Canada

      @ KK Thanks for your comment. I enjoyed the research. My hubby once had a foreign domestic worker asking him about the difference between under, underneath, beneath, below.... Perhaps you could do a hub about those words?

    • profile image

      KK 5 years ago

      Very entertaining. One of the misused and overused words in our language.

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 5 years ago from Canada

      @Jaimie Such a fun movie. Love the quote. Thanks for your comment.

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      Jamie 6 years ago

      Better yet from "Bringing Down the House", is "do you have a bathroom up in there?"

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 6 years ago from Canada

      @Nick Kellingley - Nice one, Nick! ;)

      Thanks so much for your comment.


    • profile image

      Nick Kellingley 6 years ago

      No-one's going to accuse you of being slow on the "up"take are they?

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 8 years ago from Canada

      Hello, hello TrudyVan. How nice to see you back. Thanks for your comment. What's up with me is that my friend TrudyVan has a new grandson!!! Congratulations and jubilations, my friend. You are blessed again.

    • TrudyVan profile image

      TrudyVan Curre 8 years ago from South Africa

      Hello VivBounty. What's up with you. Real cool my friend. I really enjoyed this hub.

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 8 years ago from Canada

      Love your comment, DuchessOBlunt. Thank you so much. There was a hilarious line in "Bringing Down The House"; Queen Latifah, Steve Martin movie which tickles my funny bone every time I think of it- "So he was all up in that!" LOL

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Ya, what's up with that? LOL

      Good one