Green’s Dictionary of Slang

up v.

1. to begin, to push oneself forward, to say or do something; usu. in phr. ups and ..., e.g. he ups and starts saying.

[UK]Dekker & Webster Westward Hoe III i: Ile vp and tel them presently.
[UK]R. Armin Nest of Ninnies 43: He ups and tels his coming.
[UK]H. Brooke Fool of Quality I 165: She ups with her brawny Arm, and gave Susy such a Douse on the Side of the Head.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Bozzy and Piozzi’ Works (1794) I 358: I thought this good as all Joe Millar’s jokes; And so I up, and told it to the folks.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Dec. I 124/1: Then I up and told her that I was resolved to take it in.
[UK]M. & R. Lovell Edgeworth Essays on Irish Bulls 129: With that he ups with a lump of a two year old and lets drive at me.
[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 29: I immediately up with a crab which was heeled with iron, with which I beat him.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker I 89: She jist up and told him to mind his own business.
[US]Hillsdale Standard (MI) 10 Oct. 1/2: So she ups with her apron and wipes her eyes.
[UK]Shoreditch Obs. (London) 10 Dec. 3/5: He ups with a hairbrush and heaves it at me.
[UK]J. Greenwood Night in a Workhouse 46: Then they was goin’ to wallop me again, so I thought I’d cheek it out; so I up and told the master all about it.
[US]B. Harte Gabriel Conroy I 100: Well, the baby up and died last night.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Sept. 4/4: Then Mr Carroll (who was on the defence) ‘ups and sez’ — ‘That’s right!’.
[UK]Sporting Times 18 Jan. 2/2: He starts disinfecting his mother-in-law; / Till she ups and she gives him one smack in the jaw.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 Aug. 13/2: I ups an’ bashes ’er fair acrost the promontory with the ’andle of me closed umberella [...]. Now [...] can I get damages outer Sis for breakin’ me umberella with ’er nose [...] ?
[UK]A. Perry [perf. Marie Lloyd] William ’Enry Sarnders [lyrics] For days I’d acted cool to ’im, at last I ups and speaks .
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ It’s Up to You 14: In his estimation the Jones party was a small sout parcel of heated air, and tacks was eager to be up and doing him.
[UK]D. Stewart Shadows of the Night in Illus. Police News 20 July 12/3: ‘It was during our yarns aboard [...] that Percy up and told me his bloomin’ ’istory’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 16 Feb. 7/8: So he ups and sez he to her, / As he'll find her work to do.
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 171: So I ups to him and I says in a kind o’ groaning voice: ‘You got a lot to whine about, you have.’.
[US]H.L. Wilson Somewhere in Red Gap 120: Darned if he didn’t up with this here air gun [...] and plunk me with a buckshot it carried.
[UK] ‘The Winnipeg Whore’ in Bold (1979) 241: Up jumps the bugger-boys an the sons of the bitches / So I ups and hi-tails out of that door.
[US]G. Milburn ‘The Boss Tramp’ in Hobo’s Hornbook 55: And when I got out of jail that day / She up and told me all.
[Aus]Western Champion (Qld) 12 Dec. 3/2: But he up an’ snorts the likes of me makes a public bar no place for his daughter.
‘Cats on th Rooftops’ in Mess Songs & Rhymes of RAAF 1939-45 1: He walks around St Kilda with his doodle hanging out, / And when he sees a wench, it ups and hits him in the snout.
[US]B. Cerf Anything For a Laugh 206: I ups to him and says, ‘Desist, you is annoying me.’.
[UK]S. Selvon Lonely Londoners 52: The Austrian ups and went back and tell Captain all what Moses say.
[UK]P. Terson Apprentices (1970) I iv: We’re just upping and going, thumbs up, like Donovan and Bob Dylan.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 141: Teddy ups with a roscoe and bumps Dooney.
[Ire]D. Healy Bend for Home 57: Then one day I upped and left for London.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 48: Ten Gallon up and brained the Polack with a dead man of rum.
[UK]K. Richards Life 289: And so we upped and went to France.
[Aus]me-stepmums-too-fuckin-hot-mate at [Internet] Me old man up an’ died less than a year later.

2. fig. senses of to increase.

(a) (orig. US) to raise, to increase prices, charges etc.

[US]R. Chandler ‘Pearls Are a Nuisance’ in Spanish Blood (1946) 128: The price will be upped to ten grand.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 60: I can’t help it when they up the price on me.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 187: In a week or so the price of shares had upped fifty bob.
[UK]N. Cohn Awopbop. (1970) 13: Johnnie Ray himself upped his earnings to four thousand dollars a week and sold records by the million.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 48: He surmised dourly that they’d ‘oop the fookin’ prices now you fookin’ lot’s ’ere.’.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 70: Price, hysterically reduced, in normal times, but now brutally upped.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 263: They upped his meds today.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 174: The Medsin treatment had upped the stakes.

(b) (orig. US) to improve, to boost; to promote.

[US]T.T. Chamales Never So Few (1958) 219: He rubs it to you by upping them other guys over you.
[Can]Globe and Mail (Toronto) 17 Feb. 28: You can up your morale all so easily [OED].
[Aus]K. Gilbert Living Black 209: Forget this bloody black power, up the black fist, up the blacks, because people laugh at that.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 6 July 4: An opportunity to up his profile.

(c) (US black) to be better, to beat.

[US] (ref. to 1950s) ‘Cupid’s Story’ in R.L. Keiser Vice Lords 77: That’s where my parents upped theirs . . . ’cause I know what’s going on.

(d) to promote.

[US]C. Stella Charlie Opera 38: It’s been like that since Nicky was upped to skipper.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 339: The bosses figure Valentine is going places [...] Word is he’s being upped.

3. to have sexual intercourse with [the man puts his penis up the vagina].

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 129: For a tanner, you can up her. / Ten to one you get the pox.
[US]‘J.M. Hall’ Anecdota Americana II 22: ’e ups me and ’e downs me, wipes ’is cock on me petticoat and goes off singing.

4. to stab.

[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 20 June 704: I saw the prisoner and his wife go to the door of the house where they lived—she called out, ‘Go in and up him’—just as I walked past the prisoner I see a little bit of a blade of a knife in his hand.

5. (US) to enlist, i.e. join up.

[US](con. WWII) T. Sanchez Hollywoodland (1981) 223: I’m going down to the Army recruiting office and upping to fight a real war.

6. (US black) to play music.

[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 1: Gator, take a knock down to those blow tops, who are upping some real crazy riffs and dropping them on a mellow kick and chappie the way they pull their lay hips our ship that they are from the land of razz ma tazz.

7. in terms of contempt or dismissal; a euph. for fuck v. (3); usu. in excls. below; note also up your arse! excl.

[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 48: You tell him, up him with a red-hot lemon.
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 16: ‘Up the old school [...] Yes,’ and he said this in a different tone, emphasising the word ‘up’, ‘Up the old school.’.

8. (US) to hand over, to produce [SE come up with].

[US]B. Jackson Thief’s Primer 105: It’s so much easier for the company to go ahead and up $400 or $600 to get their checks back.
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 217: up, v. – to give something to someone.

9. (UK Und.) to beat up.

[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 261: First Morty uppin Freddie then Jimmy gettin served.

10. to mock [to ‘put two fingers up to’].

[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 3: Double flash with your ill-gotten gains, really upping the old bill with ’em.

In phrases

In exclamations

up you! (also upya!) [euph. for fuck you! excl., esp. when accompanied by the (orig. US) raised middle-finger gesture]

a dismissive, contemptuous excl.

[UK]‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 100: We passed two trim airmen on the road, with shrieks of ‘Up yer.’.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl. 79: Upya!, a contemptuous ejaculation.
[Aus]‘Bullshit’ in Mess Songs & Rhymes of the RAAF 23: So Airboard, Nuts to you! / And up you, N.E.A.
[UK]M.F. Caulfield Black City 55: ‘You’d steal a penny from a starving child.’ ‘Up you!’ said Flynn.
[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 431: ‘Upya!’ a digger shouts. ‘Bash it upya!’.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ Gone Fishin’ 35: I wouldn’t be seen dead talkin’ to yer. Drank all the beer an’ forgot me rum. Hup the lot o’ yez.
[US]B. Moyers Listening to America 220: She says, ‘Up you, you pig.’ Just screams it out.
[Aus]D. Ireland Glass Canoe 211: When someone didn't leave promptly on closing time he told him to get out. Naturally the guy said up ya, he'd never had to do such a thing before.
[Ire](con. 1930s) L. Redmond Emerald Square 335: ‘Wait ’till Dad gets you,’ he said between his teeth. ‘Up you and Dad [...] and all his friends and relations in America, and if he has any in Ethiopia up ... them an’ all.’.
up you for the rent! (also up you for the rhubarb season! …for the winter! up yours for the rent!)

(Aus.) a dismissive, contemptuous excl.

[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 101: Upya for the rent.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 54: Up you for the rent, mate!
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 233: ‘Upya for the rent, old Mother-Judgea-Pricks,’ the youth squalled.
[Aus]D. Maitland Breaking Out 256: ‘Up yours for the rent!’ Celia riposted.
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 55: Up you for the rent: Abusive term meaning go and get stuffed thus, ‘and when he put the hard word on me for a loan I told him, up you for the rent, mate.’.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 198: The u-word may form part of an angry exhortation or insult, as in ‘up yours’ – an expression of derision, as in up yours for the rent, sport.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 222: up you for the rhubarb season/for the winter Mildly abusive rejections, indicating you are talking rubbish, or you are rejected for a long time.
up yours! [sense 6 above + euph. abbr. of up your arse! excl.]

1. (orig. US) an excl. of contempt.

[US]J.T. Farrell Gas-House McGinty 157: Yeah and up yours too.
[US]N. Mailer Naked and Dead 202: Up yours, Croft.
[US]C. Brossard Bold Saboteurs (1971) 151: ‘You’re kind of pretty.’ ‘Up yours,’ I replied.
[US]R. Gover One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding 38: I say, Francine up yers wiff a lawnmower, you git yer greasy hair the hell outa here.
[US]P. Hamill Dirty Laundry 36: ‘Do yourself a favor [...] Grab a bath.’ ‘Up yours.’.
[Aus]Tracks (Aus.) Aug. 3: And as for the dickhead who thinks that westy girls are ‘bushpigs’ we’d like to say ‘get fucked,’ and have a look at your own surfie chicks with their floppy brown tits trotting along behind you waxheads like drooling puppies. So up yours [Moore 1993].
[Ire](con. 1945) S. McAughtry Touch and Go 174: Up yours, you fancy-talking fuckpot.
[UK]Guardian G2 28 Jan. 4: When the British say [...] ‘Up yours, Delors,’ they don’t really mean it.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 4: Well up yours sideways, asshole.
[UK]N. Bradley ‘Blind Old Kate’ [Internet] When the bloke replied, ‘Up yours...’ Alf chinned him.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[UK](con. WWII) B. Aldiss Soldier Erect 90: I gave him the Up Yours signal with two fingers.
[Aus]Lette & Carey Puberty Blues 114: Letting out a loud raspberry, she stabbed the air savagely with an ‘up-yours’ gesture.