come up

Idioms & Phrases

come up

  1. Arise, present itself, as in This question never came up. [Mid-1800s]

  2. Rise (from a lower place to a higher one) as in We'll leave as soon as the sun comes up. [9th century]

  3. Also, come up to. Approach, come near, as in He came up and said hello, or The dog came right up to Nora. [Early 1700s]

  4. Also, come up to. Rise in status or value, be equal to, as in His paintings will never come up to his teacher's, or This officer came up through the ranks. [c. 1600] A variant is come up or rise in the world, used for someone who has risen in rank, wealth, or status; for example, He has really come up in the worldhe now owns a yacht, or I could see at once that she was a woman who would rise in the world. Also see the subsequent idioms beginning with come up.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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