what's up

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Alternative forms[edit]


Made popular by the cartoon character Bugs Bunny as part of his catch phraseWhat’s up Doc?”, as early as 1940.[1]


  • (file)


what's up?

  1. (idiomatic, colloquial, with up in the sense of "of concern") What’s the matter? What is the problem? What is wrong?
    You're looking a bit miserable. What's up?
    I got a call saying to come straight away. What's up?
    • 1884, Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn:
      Hello, what's up? Don't cry bub. What's the trouble?
    • 1912, W. Somerset Maugham, Lady Frederick: A Comedy in Three Acts, Act 1:
      Lady Frederick: Oh lord, I wish I were eighteen. [She sinks into a chair, and an expression of utter weariness comes over her face.]
      Gerald: I say, what's up?
      Lady Frederick: [Starting.] I thought you'd gone. Nothing.
  2. (idiomatic, colloquial, chiefly US, with up in the sense of "happening") What's happening? What are you doing?
    Synonyms: what's happening, what's new, what's the haps
    Hey, what's up? – Not much, just working.
  3. (rhetorical question, colloquial) A casual greeting with a meaning similar to how are you? or nice to meet you.
    Hey, what's up? – Hey! Good to see you.

Usage notes[edit]

Sometimes, people give sarcastic responses to this question, such as "the sky" or "the ceiling" (or anything that is above the speaker).


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ What's up Doc by Gary Martin, phrases.org.uk.