up to something

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up to something (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic) Doing something mischievous or scheming.
    He looks like an angel, but I can tell he’s up to something.
    • 1871 October 27, Prince McElhannon, witness, “The Ku-Klux Conspiracy”, in Testimony Taken by the Joint Select Committee to Inquire into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States. Georgia, volume II, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, published 1872, OCLC 30673085, page 649:
      I took my mare and went down to the swamp, for I knew they had been up to something there from the signs I saw.
    • 1922 February, L. B. Thoburn-Clarke, “Amid the Swamps. A True Story of New Zealand Life in the Early Days.”, in The Boy’s Own Paper, volume XXXVIII, part 4, London: “Boy’s Own Paper” Office, [], OCLC 870086995, section II, page 212, column 2:
      One or another of them will be poking their heads in and see we have been up to something [...]
    • 1955 January 22, S. Roberts, “The Man who Made the Grade: A Short Story”, in Ram Singh and A. K. Mukerji, editors, Thought, volume VII, number 4, air edition, New Delhi: Printed on behalf of Siddhartha Publications Ltd., by R. L. Chadha at Naya Hindustan Press, ISSN 0040-6449, OCLC 1695469, page 10, column 1:
      One day Chander, who was always up to something, took it into his head to ring up one or two customers in regard to bills long outstanding on them.
    • 2003 December 13, “Crime scene”, in The Age[1], Melbourne, Vic.: Nine Publishing, ISSN 0312-6307, OCLC 646190778, archived from the original on 18 September 2018:
      Police knew who they were. They knew they were up to something. All they could do was wait.
    • 2005 August 25, Simon Cox, “A ‘Neet’ Solution”, in BBC News[2], archived from the original on 8 July 2018:
      If they are doing nothing they are going to be up to something – just send them to prison.


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