Green’s Dictionary of Slang

stack up v.1

1. to challenge.

[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 278: Well, you just let anybody who hasn’t friends in New York, just stack up against McGovern and his crew, that wants to; but I tell you they’ll soon find themselves where the dogs won’t bite em.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 6 Feb. 2/7: he had the sense to see he was stacked up against a combination [...] an’ stood no show.

2. to meet.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 97: Stacked up against all the pretty girls [...] and the swagger married women.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 16: He was the best example of an all-round invalid I ever stacked up against.

3. (also stack) to emerge, to develop, to maintain, to appear as it should; also in negative phr. that doesn’t/don’t stack up, that isn’t logical, that fails to reach a standard.

[US]A.H. Lewis Wolfville 32: ‘Howdy, Wilkins?’ says Doc [...] ‘how’s things stackin’ up?’.
B. Fisher ‘A. Mutt’ [comic strip] How are they stackin’ up, Nap?
[US]S.F. Bulletin 29 Mar. 29: From the way the White Sox stacked up, one might have suspected that they were innoculated with the ‘jazz’ during their stay in the Valley of the Moon.
[US]R. Lardner Big Town 180: How do you and Daley stack up?
Adair Co. News 3 Jan. 7/2: But just you look at the way things are stackin’ up.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 651: Say, how does this horse Sugar Candy stack up in the next?
W. Irish After-Dinner Story 18: Since there’d been only one shot fired out of the gun, and no other gun was found, that don’t stack up to much.
[US]Commonweal XXXVII 256: Nightmare is the kind of a chase thriller that keeps you on the edge of your chair. At its end all the explanada doesn’t stack up very well or amount to much.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Latin Blood’ in Speed Detective Aug. [Internet] I know it sounds like a hack script [...] But I take my oath that’s how it stacks.
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 58: I gave him a report on how things stacked up in Peardale.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 101: It seemed to Bertha that Edna was stacking up the same way she had.
P. McBroom Third Sex 32: But it doesn’t stack up quite right.
I. Compton Paco: the Apache tracker 76: I hope you don’t have to stand trial for murder of the clerk, son, but it don’t stack up too good for you.
B. Maitland Verge Practice 42: I know she’s convinced herself it’s the only explanation, and I can’t blame her for that, but it doesn’t stack up.

4. to compare with; usu. as stack up to/against.

[US]Ade Girl Proposition 128: In order to prevent Competition, the Hot-Looker usually selected a Pal who did not stack up to any extent as a Beauty Queen.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ I’m from Missouri 13: It’s a mighty fat wad that doesn’t feel ashamed of itself when it stacks up to Uncle Peter’s rake-off.
[US]Tensas Gaz. (St Joseph, LA) 1 Mar. 3/1: ‘A Christmas without punch is like sinking a hole to bedrock with nary a pay streak.’ ‘Stack up on that for a high cyard,’ approved Big Jim.
[US]Business Week 22 Apr. 22/3: For it tells him the productivity of his store, how one department stacks up against another [DA].
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 1 Jan. in Proud Highway (1997) 366: I’ve been down to Uruguay, Buenos Aires and Paraguay [...] but they don’t stack up to Brazil.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 171: Holding back telling him how he stacked up against Joe Speaker.
B. Jones Farming Game 44: It isn’t too bad a tractor either, even if it doesn’t stack up with my A John Deere.

5. used of an indivual, to prove useful or dependable.

[UK]K. Sampson Killing Pool 166: Derek Lambert — no fixed address. I don’t see him stacking up [...] He’s an addict. he can’t be sure what he saw.