do up

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See also: doup







do up (third-person singular simple present does up, present participle doing up, simple past did up, past participle done up)

  1. (transitive, idiomatic) To fasten (a piece of clothing, etc.); to tighten (a nut etc.)
    I can't do up my shirt. The button is missing.
    Help me do up this zipper.
    You hold it in place while I do up the nut.
  2. (transitive, idiomatic, colloquial) To redecorate (a room, etc.); to make improvements to (a home or domestic property).
    I'm going to do up the living room next.
    They've done up the house so that they can sell it more easily.
    • 1897, Richard Marsh, The Beetle:
      If I had been asked what was the rent of the house, I should have said, at the most, not more than twenty pounds, — because, between you and me, it wants a good bit of doing up, and is hardly fit to live in as it stands.
    • 2001, Salman Rushdie, Fury: A Novel, London: Jonathan Cape, →ISBN, page 3:
      So many people were doing up their apartments that supplies of high-grade fixtures and fittings were at a premium.
  3. (transitive, idiomatic, informal) To execute a task or performance.
    This time I'm going to do it up right.
  4. (transitive, idiomatic) To pack together and envelop; to pack up.
    I did up the parcel with string and took it to the post office.
  5. (transitive, dated) To accomplish thoroughly.
  6. (transitive, archaic) To starch and iron.
  7. (slang) To beat up; to physically assault.
  8. (transitive) To style (someone's hair); to give (someone) an updo; to wear an updo.

Usage notes


The object may appear before or after the particle. If the object is a pronoun, then it must be before the particle.


  • (antonym(s) of fasten clothing): undo



Derived terms