show up

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  • (file)


show up (third-person singular simple present shows up, present participle showing up, simple past showed up, past participle shown up)

  1. (intransitive) To appear, arrive, or attend, especially suddenly or erratically.
    Please come on time; don't just show up whenever you feel like it.
    No matter how many I throw away, more copies always show up.
    Stains show up easily on this white tablecloth.
  2. (transitive, idiomatic) To make visible or expose faults and deficiencies in, usually by comparison.
    I finished in five minutes and she showed me up by finishing in three.
    I bet the Jayhawk fast break could show up the Nimrod's lack of speed.
  3. (transitive) To make visible; to expose.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (expose faults): The object is normally a person rather than a thing and may appear before or after up. However, if the object is a pronoun, then it comes before up.
  • (make visible): The object normally comes after up, even when it is a pronoun.


Related terms[edit]


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