Ocean Hermit – sailing, solitude and stories

My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.

* Up, Up, Up and Away – a wonder of the English language

I’ve just rediscovered this witty short essay on a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word.  That word is “UP.”

“It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list.  But when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?  Why do we speak UP?  Why are officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends.  We brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some people fix UP cars.

At other times the little word has special meanings. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.  To be dressed is one thing; to be dressed UP is special.

And UP can also be confusing:

A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.  We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP !

Look UP  “UP” in the dictionary.  In a desk dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.  It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more uses.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.  When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP.  When it rains, it wets UP the earth.  When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on & on, but I’ll wrap it UP.  My time is UP, so I’ll shut UP …..!”


3 comments on “* Up, Up, Up and Away – a wonder of the English language

  1. phoenixoftexas
    January 6, 2010

    Awesome essay! I love words and their origins, quirky meanings and ways society uses them. This definitely brought a smile to my face. Samantha


  2. aurore13
    January 13, 2010



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This entry was posted on January 6, 2010 by in Books/Language and tagged , , .
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