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scare up




Figurative sense US from 1846.


scare up (third-person singular simple present scares up, present participle scaring up, simple past and past participle scared up)

  1. To frighten (an animal, especially a game animal) into appearing from cover.
    • 1881, Henry David Thoreau, Early Spring in Massachusetts:
      Soon after, we scare up a flock of black ducks.
    • 1913, Jack London, The Cruise of the "Snark", 2008, unnumbered page,
      They ranged along abreast of the Snark on either side, pouncing upon the flying-fish her forefoot scared up.
    • 2004, William Barksdale Maynard, Walden Pond, page 105,
      In September, Henry walked Emerson's frequent route, Hosmer's-Goose Pond-Walden, and viewed the pond from the hill on the north side with the sawed pine stump atop, scaring up black ducks.
  2. (figuratively) To find or procure while relying on chance to provide the means, especially something not easily found or procured.
    • 1881, William Dean Howells, A Modern Instance, page 185:
      “By the way,” said his friend, “let’s go over into Leopoldstadt, and see if we can’t scare up a sleigh for a little turn in the suburbs.”
    • 1990, Miller's Crossing, 01:25:07
      "Scare me up some gargle, will you?"
    • 2003, Stephanie Stein Crease, Gil Evans: Out of the Cool: His Life and Music, page 6,
      Gil also scared up other part-time jobs while in high school—delivering gas canisters and playing solo piano at tea time at the elegant Hotel Stockton.
    • 2004, Michael Streissguth, Voices of the Country: Interviews With Classic Country Performers, page 80,
      Now, whenever he's in Nashville scaring up clients and I'm there scaring up stories, we hit the hillbilly circuit.
    • 2005, Stephen J. Cannell, Cold Hit, page 367:
      “With the current budget crunch and the Fingertip case inactive, I couldn’t scare up much enthusiasm.”