Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (intransitive, idiomatic) To study or cram, especially in order to refresh one's knowledge of a topic.
1913, William Christian Schmeisser, Are You Going To College?, page 132:
- Information acquired in that way, makes an impression ; this "boning" up for an examination is all right as a finishing touch, but it will not last.
1914, Kathleen Norris, chapter 2, in Saturday's Child:
- Here's your chance to bone up on the segregating, or crediting, or whatever you call it.
- 2004, Kate Novack, "Fashion Literacy," Time, 14 Sep.,
- Now is the perfect time to bone up on your fashion history.
- In contemporary usage bone up is intransitive and often followed by on, or for, but in dated usage it was sometimes used with a direct object, as in:
- 1921, P. G. Wodehouse, Indiscretions of Archie, ch. 17,
- My idea was to get this book and coach the dear old chap. Rehearse him, don't you know. He could bone up the early chapters a bit and then drift round and try his convincing talk on me.