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or make-up

[meyk-uhp] /ˈmeɪkˌʌp/
facial cosmetics, as eye shadow or lipstick.
cosmetics used on other parts of the body, as to cover birthmarks.
the application of cosmetics.
the ensemble or effect created by such application:
Her makeup was subtle but very effective.
the total ensemble of cosmetics, wigs, costumes, etc., used by an actor or other performer.
the manner of being made up or put together; composition:
the makeup of a team; the makeup of a situation.
physical or mental constitution:
the makeup of a criminal.
the art, technique, or process of arranging or laying out, as pages in a publication.
the appearance of a page, book, newspaper, or the like, resulting from the arrangement and the variation in size and style of the printed elements:
The makeup would be helped by a picture in this corner.
Printing. the arrangement of set type, cuts, etc., into columns or pages.
an examination, assignment, or the like, given to offset a student's previous absence or failure.
an amount owed; balance.
Origin of makeup
First recorded in 1805-15; noun use of verb phrase make up
Related forms
nonmakeup, adjective


[meyk] /meɪk/
verb (used with object), made, making.
to bring into existence by shaping or changing material, combining parts, etc.:
to make a dress; to make a channel; to make a work of art.
to produce; cause to exist or happen; bring about:
to make trouble; to make war.
to cause to be or become; render:
to make someone happy.
to appoint or name:
The president made her his special envoy.
to put in the proper condition or state, as for use; fix; prepare:
to make a bed; to make dinner.
to bring into a certain form:
to make bricks out of clay.
to convert from one state, condition, category, etc., to another:
to make a virtue of one's vices.
to cause, induce, or compel:
to make a horse jump a barrier.
to give rise to; occasion:
It's not worth making a fuss over such a trifle.
to produce, earn, or win for oneself:
to make a good salary; to make one's fortune in oil.
to write or compose:
to make a short poem for the occasion.
to draw up, as a legal document; draft:
to make a will.
to do; effect:
to make a bargain.
to establish or enact; put into existence:
to make laws.
to become by development; prove to be:
You'll make a good lawyer.
to form in the mind, as a judgment or estimate:
to make a decision.
to judge or interpret, as to the truth, nature, meaning, etc. (often followed by of):
What do you make of it?
to estimate; reckon:
to make the distance at ten miles.
to bring together separate parts so as to produce a whole; compose; form:
to make a matched set.
to amount to; bring up the total to:
Two plus two makes four. That makes an even dozen.
to serve as:
to make good reading.
to be sufficient to constitute:
One story does not make a writer.
to be adequate or suitable for:
This wool will make a warm sweater.
to assure the success or fortune of:
a deal that could make or break him; Seeing her made my day.
to deliver, utter, or put forth:
to make a stirring speech.
to go or travel at a particular speed:
to make 60 miles an hour.
to arrive at or reach; attain:
The ship made port on Friday. Do you think he'll make 80?
to arrive in time for:
to make the first show.
to arrive in time to be a passenger on (a plane, boat, bus, train, etc.):
If you hurry, you can make the next flight.
Informal. to gain or acquire a position within:
He made the big time.
to receive mention or appear in or on:
The robbery made the front page.
to gain recognition or honor by winning a place or being chosen for inclusion in or on:
The novel made the bestseller list. He made the all-American team three years in a row.
Slang. to have sexual intercourse with.
  1. to name (the trump).
  2. to take a trick with (a card).
  3. Bridge. to fulfill or achieve (a contract or bid).
  4. to shuffle (the cards).
to earn, as a score:
The team made 40 points in the first half.
  1. to recognize or identify:
    Any cop in town will make you as soon as you walk down the street.
  2. to charge or cause to be charged with a crime:
    The police expect to make a couple of suspects soon.
to close (an electric circuit).
South Midland and Southern U.S. to plant and cultivate or produce (a crop):
He makes some of the best corn in the country.
verb (used without object), made, making.
to cause oneself, or something understood, to be as specified:
to make sure.
to show oneself to be or seem in action or behavior (usually followed by an adjective):
to make merry.
to be made, as specified:
This fabric makes up into beautiful drapes.
to move or proceed in a particular direction:
They made after the thief.
to rise, as the tide or water in a ship.
South Midland and Southern U.S. (of a crop) to grow, develop, or mature:
It looks like the corn's going to make pretty good this year.
make down, Chiefly Pennsylvania German. to rain or snow:
It's making down hard.
make fast, Chiefly Nautical. to fasten or secure.
make shut, Chiefly Pennsylvania German. to close:
Make the door shut.
the style or manner in which something is made; form; build.
production with reference to the manufacturer; brand:
our own make.
disposition; character; nature.
the act or process of making.
quantity made; output.
Cards. the act of naming the trump, or the suit named as trump.
Electricity. the closing of an electric circuit.
Jewelry. the excellence of a polished diamond with regard to proportion, symmetry, and finish.
Slang. identifying information about a person or thing from police records:
He radioed headquarters for a make on the car's license plate.
Verb phrases
make out,
  1. to write out or complete, as a bill or check.
  2. to establish; prove.
  3. to decipher; discern.
  4. to imply, suggest, or impute:
    He made me out to be a liar.
  5. to manage; succeed:
    How are you making out in your new job?
  6. Slang. to engage in kissing and caressing; neck.
  7. Slang. to have sexual intercourse.
  8. Chiefly Pennsylvania German. to turn off or extinguish (especially a light or fire):
    Make the light out.
make over,
  1. to remodel; alter:
    to make over a dress; to make over a page layout.
  2. to transfer the title of (property); convey:
    After she retired she made over her property to her children and moved to Florida.
make for,
  1. to go toward; approach:
    to make for home.
  2. to lunge at; attack.
  3. to help to promote or maintain:
    This incident will not make for better understanding between the warring factions.
make off,
  1. to run away; depart hastily:
    The only witness to the accident made off before the police arrived.
  2. Nautical. to stand off from a coast, especially a lee shore.
make off with, to carry away; steal:
While the family was away, thieves made off with most of their valuables.
make on, Chiefly Pennsylvania German. to turn on, light, or ignite (especially a light or fire):
Make the light on.
make up,
  1. (of parts) to constitute; compose; form.
  2. to put together; construct; compile.
  3. to concoct; invent.
  4. Also, make up for. to compensate for; make good.
  5. to complete.
  6. to put in order; arrange:
    The maid will make up the room.
  7. to conclude; decide.
  8. to settle amicably, as differences.
  9. to become reconciled, as after a quarrel.
  10. Printing. to arrange set type, illustrations, etc., into columns or pages.
  11. to dress in appropriate costume and apply cosmetics for a part on the stage.
  12. to apply cosmetics.
  13. to adjust or balance, as accounts; prepare, as statements.
  14. Education. to repeat (a course or examination that one has failed).
  15. Education. to take an examination that one had been unable to take when first given, usually because of absence.
  16. to specify and indicate the layout or arrangement of (columns, pages, etc., of matter to be printed).
  17. Atlantic States. (of the weather or clouds) to develop or gather:
    It's making up for a storm.
  18. Atlantic States. (of the sea) to become turbulent:
    If the sea makes up, row toward land.
make up to,
  1. Informal. to try to become friendly with; fawn on.
  2. to make advances to; flirt with:
    He makes up to every new woman in the office.
make a play for, to try to get:
He made a play for his brother's girlfriend. They made a play for control of the company's stock.
make as if / as though, Informal. to act as if; pretend:
We will make as if to leave, then come back and surprise him.
make away with,
  1. to steal:
    The clerk made away with the cash and checks.
  2. to destroy; kill:
    He made away with his enemies.
  3. to get rid of.
  4. to consume, drink, or eat completely:
    The boys made away with the contents of the refrigerator.
make believe, to pretend; imagine:
The little girl dressed in a sheet and made believe she was a ghost.
make (so) bold, to have the temerity; be so rash; dare:
May I make so bold as to suggest that you stand when they enter?
make book, Slang.
  1. to take bets and give odds.
  2. to make a business of this.
make colors, Nautical. to hoist an ensign, as on board a warship.
make do, to function, manage, or operate, usually on a deprivation level with minimal requirements:
During the war we had no butter or coffee, so we had to make do without them.
make good,
  1. to provide restitution or reparation for:
    The bank teller made good the shortage and was given a light sentence.
  2. to succeed:
    Talent and training are necessary to make good in some fields.
  3. to fulfill:
    He made good on his promise.
  4. Navigation. to compute (a course) allowing for leeway and compass deviation.
make heavy weather,
  1. Nautical. to roll and pitch in heavy seas.
  2. to progress laboriously; struggle, especially to struggle needlessly:
    I am making heavy weather with my income tax return.
make it,
  1. Informal. to achieve a specific goal:
    to make it to the train; to make it through college.
  2. Informal. to succeed in general:
    He'll never make it in business.
  3. Slang. to have sexual intercourse.
make it so, Nautical. strike the ship's bell accordingly: said by the officer of the watch when the hour is announced.
make like, Informal. to try or pretend to be like; imitate:
I'm going to go out and make like a gardener.
make one's manners, Southern U.S.
  1. to perform an appropriate or expected social courtesy.
  2. Older Use. to bow or curtsy.
make sail, Nautical.
  1. to set sails.
  2. to brace the yards of a ship that has been hove to in order to make headway.
make time. time (def 52).
make water,
  1. to urinate.
  2. Nautical. (of a hull) to leak.
make with, Slang.
  1. to operate; use:
    Let's make with the feet.
  2. to bring about; provide or produce:
    He makes with the big ideas, but can't follow through.
on the make, Informal.
  1. seeking to improve one's social or financial position, usually at the expense of others or of principle.
  2. increasing; advancing.
  3. Slang. seeking amorous or sexual relations:
    The park was swarming with sailors on the make.
put the make on, Slang. to make sexual overtures to.
before 900; Middle English maken, Old English macian; cognate with Low German, Dutch maken, German machen
Related forms
makable, adjective
1. form; build; produce; fabricate, create, fashion, mold. 7. transform, change, turn. 8. force. 10. get, gain, acquire, obtain, secure, procure. 13. perform, execute. 18. judge, gauge. 48. shape, structure, construction, constitution.
1. destroy.
Synonym Study
1.Make, construct, manufacture mean to produce, to put into definite form, or to put parts together to make a whole. Make is the general term: Bees make wax. Construct, more formal, means to put parts together, usually according to a plan or design: to construct a building. Manufacture usually refers to producing something from material that requires conversion from one state or condition to another, now almost entirely by means of machinery in a relatively complex process: to manufacture automobiles by the assembly of different parts. The term is also often used contemptuously of unimaginative or hackneyed works of art with the implication that the work was produced mechanically, and is used abstractly with the idea of denying genuineness: to manufacture an excuse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for make up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "For heaven's sake, child, make up your mind quickly," said Katherine.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • There was only one thing to do—make up the pack as soon as possible and leave the place.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Most exquisite of sonatas would not to them make up for a game of billiards!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Do you make up your mind beforehand that if the animal should kill you, it is all right?

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • It's noways likely that I'd take the trouble to make up a lie about that weed.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
British Dictionary definitions for make up


verb (mainly transitive) makes, making, made
to bring into being by shaping, changing, or combining materials, ideas, etc; form or fashion; create: to make a chair from bits of wood, make a poem
to draw up, establish, or form: to make a decision, make one's will
to cause to exist, bring about, or produce: don't make a noise
to cause, compel, or induce: please make him go away
to appoint or assign, as to a rank or position: they made him chairman
to constitute: one swallow doesn't make a summer
(also intransitive) to come or cause to come into a specified state or condition: to make merry, make someone happy
(copula) to be or become through development: he will make a good teacher
to cause or ensure the success of: your news has made my day
to amount to: twelve inches make a foot
to be part of or a member of: did she make one of the party?
to serve as or be suitable for: that piece of cloth will make a coat
to prepare or put into a fit condition for use: to make a bed
to be the essential element in or part of: charm makes a good salesman
to carry out, effect, or do: to make a gesture
(intransitive; foll by to, as if to, or as though to) to act with the intention or with a show of doing something: they made to go out, he made as if to hit her
to use for a specified purpose: I will make this town my base
to deliver or pronounce: to make a speech
to judge, reckon, or give one's own opinion or information as to: what time do you make it?
to cause to seem or represent as being: that furniture makes the room look dark
to earn, acquire, or win for oneself: to make friends, make a fortune
to engage in: make love not war
to traverse or cover (distance) by travelling: we can make a hundred miles by nightfall
to arrive in time for: he didn't make the first act of the play
  1. to win a trick with (a specified card)
  2. to shuffle (the cards)
  3. (bridge) to fulfil (a contract) by winning the necessary number of tricks
(cricket) to score (runs)
(electronics) to close (a circuit) permitting a flow of current Compare break (sense 44)
(intransitive) to increase in depth: the water in the hold was making a foot a minute
(intransitive) (of hay) to dry and mature
(informal) to gain a place or position on or in: to make the headlines, make the first team
(informal) to achieve the rank of
(slang) to seduce
make a book, to take bets on a race or other contest
make a day of it, to cause an activity to last a day
make a night of it, to cause an activity to last a night
make do, See do1 (sense 37)
make eyes at, to flirt with or ogle
make good, See good (sense 44)
(nautical) make heavy weather, to roll and pitch in heavy seas
(informal) make heavy weather of something, to carry something out with great difficulty or unnecessarily great effort
make it
  1. (informal) to be successful in doing something
  2. (foll by with) (slang) to have sexual intercourse
  3. (slang) to inject a narcotic drug
(slang, mainly US & Canadian) make like, to imitate
make love
  1. to have sexual intercourse
  2. (archaic) to engage in courtship
make love to someone
  1. to have sexual intercourse with someone
  2. (archaic) to engage in courtship with someone
make or break, to bring success or ruin
make time, See time (sense 45)
make water
  1. another term for urinate
  2. (of a boat, hull, etc) to let in water
brand, type, or style: what make of car is that?
the manner or way in which something is made
disposition or character; make-up
the act or process of making
the amount or number made
(bridge) the contract to be played
(cards) a player's turn to shuffle
on the make
  1. (informal) out for profit or conquest
  2. (slang) in search of a sexual partner
Derived Forms
makable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English macian; related to Old Frisian makia to construct, Dutch maken, German machen to make


noun (archaic)
a peer or consort
a mate or spouse
Derived Forms
makeless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English gemaca mate; related to match1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for make up

"end a quarrel, reconcile," 1660s, from make (v.) + up.



Old English macian "to make, form, construct, do; prepare, arrange, cause; behave, fare, transform," from West Germanic *makon "to fashion, fit" (cf. Old Saxon makon, Old Frisian makia "to build, make," Middle Dutch and Dutch maken, Old High German mahhon "to construct, make," German machen "to make"), from PIE *mag- "to knead, mix; to fashion, fit" (see macerate). If so, sense evolution perhaps is via prehistoric houses built of mud. Gradually replaced the main Old English word, gewyrcan (see work (v.)).

Meaning "to arrive at" (a place), first attested 1620s, originally was nautical. Formerly used in many places where specific verbs now are used, e.g. to make Latin (c.1500) "to write Latin compositions." This broader usage survives in some phrases, e.g. to make water "to urinate," to make a book "arrange a series of bets" (1828), make hay "to turn over mown grass to expose it to sun." Make the grade is 1912, perhaps from the notion of railway engines going up an incline.

Read the valuable suggestions in Dr. C.V. Mosby's book -- be prepared to surmount obstacles before you encounter them -- equipped with the power to "make the grade" in life's climb. [advertisement for "Making the Grade," December 1916]
But the phrase also was in use in a schoolwork context at the time. Make do "manage with what is available" is attested from 1867. Make time "go fast" is 1849; make tracks in this sense is from 1834. To make a federal case out of (something) popularized in 1959 movie "Anatomy of a Murder;" to make an offer (one) can't refuse is from Mario Puzo's 1969 novel "The Godfather." To make (one's) day is from 1909; menacing make my day is from 1971, popularized by Clint Eastwood in film "Sudden Impact" (1983). Related: Made; making.



"match, mate, companion" (now archaic or dialectal), from Old English gemaca "mate, equal; one of a pair, comrade; consort, husband, wife," from Proto-Germanic *gamakon-, related to Old English gemæcc "well-matched, suitable," macian "to make" (see make (v.)). Meaning "manner in which something is made, design, construction" is from c.1300. Phrase on the make "intent on profit or advancement" is from 1869.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for make up



  1. Positive identification: The woman gave us a make on the guy who slugged her
  2. A person regarded merely as a sex partner; lay: an easy make (1918+)


  1. To rob; steal; heist (1700+ Underworld)
  2. To recognize or identify; make an identification: The dealer-suspect ''made'' (i e, correctly identified) one of the staked-out 53 cars/ He made me the minute he saw me (1906+ Underworld & police)
  3. To understand; grasp; dig: I don't make you, kid. What did the boy do? (1912+)
  4. o bring fame, success, wealth, etc: That one show made her (1460+)
  5. To do the sex act with; lay, screw: Not only is the King in love with me, but the Queen tried to make me too/ in the sense of ''making'' handsome men (1918+)
  6. To arrive at; hit: We'll never make Padanaram before dark (1624+)
  7. To defecate; dump, shit (1950s+)
  8. To initiate one into the Mafia: The purpose of a particular meeting had been to make us ''to incorporate individuals as new members of the family'' (1960s+)
  9. also make up)To shuffle playing cards: Peter made the cards and handed them to Stern to deal

Related Terms

easy make, on the make, on the take, put the make on someone, run a make

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with make up

make up

Put together, construct or compose, as in The druggist made up the prescription, or The tailor said he could make up a suit from this fabric. This usage was first recorded in 1530.
Constitute, form, as in One hundred years make up a century. [ Late 1500s ]
Change one's appearance; apply cosmetics. For example, He made himself up as an old man. [ c. 1800 ]
Devise a fiction or falsehood; invent. For example, Mary is always making up stories for her children, or Is that account true or did you make it up? This usage was first recorded in 1828.
Compensate for, provide for a deficiency, as in Can you make up the difference in the bill? or What he lacks in height he makes up in skill . This usage was first recorded in 1538. Also see make up for lost time
Repeat a course, take a test or do an assignment at a later time because of previous absence or failure. For example, Steve will have to make up calculus this summer, or The professor is letting me make up the exam tomorrow.
Also,make it up. Resolve a quarrel, as in The Sweeneys argue a lot but they always make up before going to sleep, or Will you two ever make it up? The first usage was first recorded in 1699, the variant in 1669.
Put in order, as in We asked them to make up the room for us, or Can you make up another bed in this room? [ Early 1800s ]
Also see the subsequent idioms beginning with make up.


also see under:
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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