wind up

From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: windup and wind-up



  • IPA(key): /waɪnd ˈʌp/
  • (file)


wind up (plural wind ups)

  1. Alternative form of wind-up


wind up (third-person singular simple present winds up, present participle winding up, simple past and past participle wound up)

  1. (literally, transitive) To wind (rope, string, mainsprings, etc.) completely.
    Antonyms: unwind, unspool, play out, wind down
    I wound up the spool of rope.
  2. (transitive) To put (a clock, watch, etc.) in a state of renewed or continued motion by winding the spring or other energy-storage mechanism.
    I wound up the clock.
    Your pocket watch will run for a long time if you wind up the spring all the way.
    • 1921 June, Margery Williams, “The Velveteen Rabbit: Or How Toys Become Real”, in Harper’s Bazar, volume LVI, number 6 (2504 overall), New York, N.Y.: International Magazine Company, →ISSN, →OCLC:
      Their feet padded softly on the ground, and they crept quite close to him, twitching their noses, while the Rabbit stared hard to see which side the clockwork stuck out, for he knew that people who jump generally have something to wind them up. But he couldn't see it. They were evidently a new kind of rabbit altogether.
  3. (transitive, figurative, by extension) To tighten (someone or something) by winding or twisting.
    The movie wound me up emotionally.
  4. (transitive, figurative, by extension) To excite.
    Try not to wind up the kids too much right before bedtime.
  5. (transitive, figurative, by extension) To upset; to anger or distress.
    • 2019 May 1, Daniel Taylor, “Lionel Messi magic puts Barcelona in command of semi-final with Liverpool”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Of all their regrets, it was their inability to score an away goal that might wind up Klopp the most. Sadio Mané wasted a glorious chance in the first half and, late on, Mohamed Salah turned his shot against a post after a goal-line clearance had spun his way.
  6. (literally, transitive) To roll up (a car window or well bucket, etc., by cranking).
    Wind up your window — it's starting to rain.
    Synonyms: roll up, raise
    Antonyms: wind down, roll down, lower
  7. (intransitive, copulative) To end up; to arrive or result.
    Mess around with drugs and wind up broke.
    I followed the signs, and I wound up getting nowhere.
    • 2017 July 16, Brandon Nowalk, “Chickens and dragons come home to roost on Game Of Thrones (newbies)”, in The Onion AV Club[2]:
      The Hound's afraid to go in. Maybe he's afraid the occupants will tell on him, but Beric points out that there's no smoke in the chimney or livestock in the yard, so it's probably deserted. It's not. Inside are the decaying corpses of the farmer and his little girl, in bed together with a knife on the floor. Beric CSIs that they were starving to death, so the man ended the suffering for both of them. And they might not have wound up that way if they hadn't met the Hound.
    • 2013 January, Brian Hayes, “Father of Fractals”, in American Scientist[3], volume 101, number 1, page 62:
      Toward the end of the war, Benoit was sent off on his own with forged papers; he wound up working as a horse groom at a chalet in the Loire valley. Mandelbrot describes this harrowing youth with great sangfroid.
    Synonyms: end up, turn out, turn up
    Antonym: start out
  8. (intransitive) To increase (in some aspect).
    • 2020 December 9, Drachinifel, 15:25 from the start, in Guadalcanal Campaign - Cape Esperance (IJN 1 : 2 USN)[4], archived from the original on 4 December 2022:
      Now, things got even more confusing. Farenholt and Laffey hadn't spotted the incoming Japanese Navy vessels, and were winding up to full speed to more-quickly bypass the cruisers. Duncan, of course, could see the radar contacts to its starboard, and so assumed that this increase in speed by its compatriots was the start of a general assault on the enemy. And so, not wanting to be left behind, it broke off and headed off into the darkness to start what turned out to be a one-ship torpedo assault.
  9. (transitive) To conclude, complete, or finish (something).
    Even though he had bad news, he tried to wind up his speech on a positive note.
    Coordinate term: wind down (the only sense in which "wind up" and "wind down" can be nearly or wholly synonymous, via alternative metaphors)
    • 1911, James George Frazer, The Golden Bough, volume 8, page 231:
      A general feast, of which all the male inhabitants of the town partake, winds up the proceedings at the close of the nineteen days.
    • 2020 September 1, Tom Lamont, “The butcher's shop that lasted 300 years (give or take)”, in The Guardian[5]:
      In late April, residents were sent a blunt letter telling them that the town's ancient market, which had stopped because of the pandemic, and which really did date back to the reign of Queen Anne, would be wound up.
    1. (transitive) To dissolve (a partnership or corporation) and liquidate its assets.
  10. (Britain, transitive) To play a prank (on); to take the mickey (out of) or mock.
    Twenty quid? Are you winding me up?
  11. (baseball, intransitive) To make the preparatory movements for a certain kind of pitch.
    Paige seemed to be winding up for a fastball but then switched it up.

Derived terms[edit]