eat up v.
1. to scold or rebuke.
|Sel. Letters (1983) 8 Mar. 16: But don’t eat a fellow up now without giving him a chance for his life.letter in Saxon|
|Colored Cadet at West Point 69: He ‘eats’ that plebe up entirely, and then sends a corporal around to instruct him in his orders.|
|Disinherited 109: ‘Why the hell you eatin’ me up blood-raw all the time?’ Ed demanded [...] after a particularly vitriolic bawling-out.|
2. to defeat or destroy.
|Major Downing (1834) 119: Every body seems to be running mad, and jest ready to eat each other up. There’s Russia snapping her teeth like a great bear, and is just agoing to eat up the Poles [...] And there’s the Dutch trying to eat up Holland, and the Belgiums are trying to eat up the Dutch.|
|Forty Years a Gambler 92: I told him he might be a good man down in Texas [...] but he was a sucker up in this country, and I could eat him up.|
|National Observer 13 Dec. 88 col. 2: But buttons tarnish, hot gospelling palls, the eating-up of white men is in strictest consonance with regal tradition and the regal habit [F&H].|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Aug. 26/3: Glebe fairly ‘ate up’ Western Suburbs by 35 points to 15, and Balmain obliterated North Sydney with 16 points to 12 – which was a close thing in a Northern Union game.|
|Story Omnibus (1966) 55: Get out of my way, little man [...] I’ll eat you up.‘Fly Paper’|
|Down These Mean Streets (1970) 75: Man, you getting low or something? That’ll eat up the profits.|
|in Buppies, B-Boys, Baps and Bohos (1994) 79: Twenty-one MC’s ate up at the same time.‘Rakin and Eric B.’ in|
3. (also eat) to believe unquestioningly.
|Tales of the Ex-Tanks 223: I ate up all the 1 to 3 shots they pushed at me.|
|A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 78: Judging from the native’s facial expression, I deduce that he is eating up Tobasco’s line of bull.|
|TAD Lex. (1993) 34: (IS: Listening to the boys salve the boss about the old tin cup he won on the links Saturday) Oh — boy They all like it — They all eat it up — I like it meself but not too thick.in Zwilling|
|Coll. Short Stories (1941) 433: Looks like you was right [...] He’s eat it up.‘A Frame-Up’ in|
|Inimitable Jeeves 202: The young gentlemen ate it, if I may use the expression.|
|Man’s Grim Justice 39: He ate it up hook, line and sinker.|
|Mad mag. Oct.–Nov. 48: You [...] proceed to make mince-meat of him. The crowd eats it up.|
|Carlito’s Way 149: The jury ate it up.|
|Brown’s Requiem 234: All the good guys versus the bad guys shit. He eats it up.|
|Straight Outta Compton 39: A tall, muscular man wearing Brutini loafers moved over from a nearby chair and hit on her. [...] She ate it up.|
|Chicken (2003) 48: ‘If you were at a party and I saw you I’d definitely hit on you.’ [...] She eats it up with a silver spoon.|
|Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] I knew he was a righty so I shoved the gun to that temple [...] so as the police ate the suicide.‘Death Cannot Be Delegated’ in|
4. to do well; to act competently; to deal with efficiently.
|Wash. Post 27 Nov. 2/4: ‘Played it well,’ said she. ‘Why, he simply ate it up.’ I found out later that eating a thing up means simply doing it extremely well.|
|Valley of the Moon (1914) 5: My! I got to pass it to you, [...] You’re a sure fierce hustler – just eat it [i.e. hard work] up.|
|You Know Me Al (1984) 29: That was a ground ball that the recrut shortstop Johnson ought to of ate up.|
5. (orig. theatre, also eat) to enjoy immensely, to acclaim.
|Peggy Harper 197: It was nothing to do with the piece, you know; they ate the piece it was only Galbraith they were guying .|
|Carry on, Jeeves 88: The Chronicle would jump at it. They eat that sort of stuff.|
|Foveaux 162: Work that profile stuff for all it’s worth. They eat it up.|
|Really the Blues 10: They all ate up the idea.|
|Long Good-Bye 56: it would be front page stuff for weeks. Every rag in the country would eat it up.|
|How to Talk Dirty 84: They eat it up, Lenny [...] they eat it up.|
|Never Die Alone 26: My southern readers will eat it up.|
|Brown’s Requiem 207: A cynical, world-weary ethos tempered with compassion that women would eat up.|
|Indep. Rev. 26 Aug. 15: Kids, no doubt, will eat this up.|
|Guardian Rev. 21 Apr. 23: The oldsters in the packed club just ate this shit up.|
6. to take control of, to ‘consume’.
|Tropic of Cancer (1963) 117: There’s something on his mind, something that’s eating him up.|
|Scrambled Yeggs 113: Look, I’m eaten up with curiosity.|
|Pimp 77: You’re creaming to eat me up.|
|Semi-Tough 9: I’m not eaten up with any goddamn hundred years of guilt about you sumbitches.|
|Brown’s Requiem 97: What I couldn’t take was that Blow Job Anderson was more valuable to the L.A.P.D. than Fritz Brown. That was what ate me up.|
|Birthday 97: Something was eating him up. I never knew what it was. He just got ratty and took it out on me.|
(US) phr. implying infuriation .
|Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 6 June 39/4: In a voice already thick with nervousness, came a ‘Wouldn’t that — wouldn’t that eat you up?’.|