act up

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act up (third-person singular simple present acts up, present participle acting up, simple past and past participle acted up)

  1. (intransitive, idiomatic) To misbehave; to cause trouble.
    Synonyms: carry on, act out, play up
    Coordinate term: kick up
    My allergies act up during hay fever season.
    Children may act up in class in an effort to get attention.
    My car started acting up after I drove through that huge puddle.
  2. (intransitive, idiomatic) To perform the duties of an appointment senior to that actually held; to deputise for a superior.
    Acting up is always recommended when you find yourself under a new boss.


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