beat up

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Verb[edit]

beat up (phrasal verb)

  1. (transitive) To give a severe beating to.
    I got beaten up by thugs on my way home.
  2. To attack suddenly; to alarm.
    • 1663, Hudibras, by Samuel Butler, part 1, canto 2
      At breach of wall, or hedge surprise, / She shared i' th' hazard, and the prize: / At beating quarters up, or forage, / Behaved herself with matchless courage
    • 1770, John Belfour, A New History of Scotland, page 137–138:
      On this occasion, the diligent prior o St. Andrews assembled 600 horse, with which he assailed the French, beat up their quarters, intercepted their provisions, and cut off their straggling parties.
    • 1777 June 7, Anthony Wayne, letter to Sharp Delany from the Camp at Mount Prospect 7th June 1777, in 1893, Charles Stillé, Major-General Anthony Wayne and the Pennsylvania Line in the Continental Army, page 6:
      Our people are daily gaining Health Spirits and Discipline — the spade & pick axe throw'd aside — for the British Rebels to take up — they notwithstanding affect to hold us cheap and threaten to beat up our Quarters — if we don’t beat up theirs first which is in Contemplation, this in time.
    • 1839 Thomas Johnes (translator), Jean Froissart, Chronicles of England, France, Spain, and The adjoining Countries, chapter CXXVI, page 367:
      "We know for certain that their army does not consist of more than three thousand men, including all sorts." Sir Henry Percy, on hearing this, was greatly rejoiced, and cried out, "To horse! to horse! for by the faith I owe my God, and to my lord and father, I will seek to recover my pennon, and to beat up their quarters this night."
    • 1948, F. Spencer Chapman, The Jungle Is Neutral, 2003, page 272–275:
      Pa Blanken tells me that the Japs beat up our camp a month ago and we have lost all our heavy gear and moved up into the hills - he does not know where. Hell! No casualties, however. [...] Our material losses were very serious. The Japs had found a rucksack containing all our money, our medicines, including all our vital quinine, a copy of our signals plan, and a number of maps. [...] It seems probable that the Japs spotted our camp from the air. They certainly knew its exact position and came straight to it.
  3. To cause by some other means, injuries comparable to the result of being beaten up.
    • 2008 October 29, on Real Rescues (a British TV program):
      He [= a paraglider pilot] flew into a hill and beat himself up pretty badly.
  4. (reflexive) To feel badly guilty and accuse oneself over something. Usually followed by over or about.
    Don't beat yourself up over such a minor mistake.
  5. (military, WW2 air pilots' usage) Repeatedly bomb a military target or targets.
  6. To get something done, derived from the idea of beating for game
  7. (intransitive, nautical) To sail to windward using a series of alternate tacks across the wind.
  8. To go diligently about in order to get helpers or participants in an enterprise.
    to beat up for recruits, or for volunteers
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Particularly: “To get something done”

Synonyms[edit]

The terms below need to be checked and allocated to the definitions (senses) of the headword above. Each term should appear in the sense for which it is appropriate. Use the template {{sense|"gloss"}}, substituting a short version of the definition for "gloss".

Derived terms[edit]

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Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

beat up (comparative more beat up, superlative most beat up)

  1. (slang) Battered by time and usage; beaten up.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Not to be confused with upbeat

Synonyms[edit]

Noun[edit]

beat up (plural beat ups)

  1. A person who, or thing that, has been beaten up.
    • 2009, Thomas Cody Mullenaux, Numbskull, page 257,
      Well, two beat ups (the bullied kids) would split that cash fifty-fifty.
  2. An act of beating up:
    1. (UK, military slang) A raid.
      • 1987, John W. Gordon, The Other Desert War: British Special Forces in North Africa, 1940-1943, page 86,
        These hit-and-run LRDG attacks — “beat-ups,” the patrols were beginning to call them — continued, and added to the enemy's mounting difficulties.
    2. A beating; a hazing.
      • 2008, Josh Frank, Charlie Buckholtz, In Heaven Everything Is Fine: The Unsolved Life of Peter Ivers and the Lost History of New Wave Theatre, page 243,
        We gave him wedgies and did mock beat-ups. We never hurt him or intended to hurt him, but he went along with our tough guy sort of image, and took it tongue in cheek and got it.
      • 2010, John Golley, Jet, page 14,
        Frequently on guest nights beat ups were held by the Third Term, and cadets of the First Term (and, sometimes, the Second Term) were singled out individually.
  3. (UK, Australia, New Zealand) An artificially or disingenuously manufactured alarm or outcry, especially one agitated by or through the media.
    • 1995 September, David Jones, 1000 Users on a 486, AUUG ′95 & Asia-Pacific World Wide Web ′95 Conference & Exhibition: Conference Proceedings, page 106,
      To the people of CQ[Central Queensland] the Internet is nothing more than the subject of media beat ups about pornography and bomb making.
    • 2007, Pauline Nguyen, Luke Nguyen, Mark Jensen, Secrets of the Red Lantern: Stories and Vietnamese Recipes from the Heart, page 189,
      Media beat-ups and xenophobia are nothing new to the Vietnamese people.
    • 2009, Ken Gelder, Paul Salzman, After The Celebration: Australian Fiction 1989-2007, page 95,
      These debates can be difficult to navigate and are all too easily reduced to simplistic reflections of individual taste and vulnerable to journalistic beat-ups.
    • 2009, Newstalk ZB, Hydro project claims "a beat up" - Brownlee, Newstalk ZB.
  4. (forestry) A tree planted later than others in a plantation.
    • 2003, K. J. Foot, M. Hislop, S. McNeilly, The effect of green composted waste on tree establishment on landfill, in Heather M. Moore, Howard R. Fox, Scott Elliott(editors), Land Reclamation: Extending The Boundaries: Proceedings Of The 7th International Conference, Runcorn, UK 13-16 May 2003, page 216,
      The data include measurements from both the original tree plantings and subsequent beat-ups.

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