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See also: makeup, make-up, and Make-up




make up (third-person singular simple present makes up, present participle making up, simple past and past participle made up)

  1. (transitive) To constitute; to compose; to form.
    • 1920, M. D. Eder, Dream Psychology, translation of original by Sigmund Freud:
      The words "dream interpretation" were and still are indeed fraught with unpleasant, unscientific associations. They remind one of all sorts of childish, superstitious notions, which make up the thread and woof of dream books, read by none but the ignorant and the primitive.
    • 2013 September-October, Katie L. Burke, “In the News”, in American Scientist:
      Oxygen levels on Earth skyrocketed 2.4 billion years ago, when cyanobacteria evolved photosynthesis: [] . The evolutionary precursor of photosynthesis is still under debate, and a new study sheds light. The critical component of the photosynthetic system is the “water-oxidizing complex”, made up of manganese atoms and a calcium atom.
  2. (transitive) To compensate, fill in or catch up.
    He can make up the time next week.
    I plan to make up for my failed midterm.
    Cuba took limited free market-oriented measures to alleviate severe shortages of food, consumer goods, and services to make up for the ending of Soviet subsidies.
    • 1945 August 17, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 7, in Animal Farm: A Fairy Story, London: Secker & Warburg, OCLC 3655473:
      The corn ration was drastically reduced, and it was announced that an extra potato ration would be issued to make up for it.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 19, in The China Governess[1]:
      Meanwhile Nanny Broome was recovering from her initial panic and seemed anxious to make up for any kudos she might have lost, by exerting her personality to the utmost. She took the policeman's helmet and placed it on a chair, and unfolded his tunic to shake it and fold it up again for him.
    • 2011 February 6, Alistair Magowan, “West Ham 0-1 Birmingham”, in BBC:
      Roger Johnson came closest to scoring for the visitors in the first half when he headed over from six yards following Lee Bowyer's cross, but he made up for that by producing some sterling defending to head clear Obinna's bullet centre.
  3. (transitive) To invent, imagine, or concoct (a story, claim, etc.).
    He was a great storyteller and could make up a story on the spot.
  4. (transitive, cooking) To assemble, or mix.
    I can make up a batch of stew in a few minutes, but it will take a few hours to cook.
  5. (transitive) To apply cosmetics or makeup to.
    Let's leave as soon as I make up my face.
  6. (intransitive) To resolve, forgive or smooth over an argument or fight.
    They fight a lot, but they always manage to make up.
  7. To overcome a disadvantage.
    • 2011 January 15, Saj Chowdhury, “Man City 4-3 Wolves”, in BBC:
      The Argentine found Dzeko and his killer ball was timed brilliantly for the Ivorian, who made up 90 yards, to slot in.
  8. To make social or romantic advances to; to pay court (to).
    • 1934, F Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night:
      “And she got some crazy idea about him. She thought he was making up to her—of course, at the time I believed her and I let him go, but I know now it was all nonsense."
  9. genetic material, the genetic 'makeup' of a thing, in a living creature.

Usage notesEdit

  • The object in all transitive senses can come before or after the particle. If it is a pronoun, then it must come before the particle.


Related termsEdit


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.