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[sahyz-uhp] /ˈsaɪzˌʌp/
an appraisal or estimation, especially as the result of sizing up:
asking for a size-up of the new office equipment.
Origin of size-up
noun use of verb phrase size up


[sahyz] /saɪz/
the spatial dimensions, proportions, magnitude, or bulk of anything:
the size of a farm; the size of the fish you caught.
considerable or great magnitude:
to seek size rather than quality.
one of a series of graduated measures for articles of manufacture or trade:
children's sizes of shoes.
extent; amount; range:
a fortune of great size.
actual condition, circumstance, or state of affairs:
That's about the size of it.
a number of population or contents:
What size is Springfield, Illinois? The size of that last shipment was only a dozen.
Obsolete. a fixed standard of quality or quantity, as for food or drink.
verb (used with object), sized, sizing.
to separate or sort according to size.
to make of a certain size.
Metallurgy. to press (a sintered compact) to close tolerances.
Obsolete. to regulate or control according to a fixed standard.
Verb phrases
size up, Informal.
  1. to form an estimate of (a situation, person, etc.); judge:
    They sized him up with a look.
  2. to meet a certain standard:
    He doesn't size up to my expectations.
of a size, of the same or similar size:
The two poodles are of a size.
try on for size,
  1. to put on briefly in order to test the fit of, as a garment or shoes.
  2. to consider, evaluate, do, or use before taking further action:
    We'll try the plan on for size to see whether it's practical.
1250-1300; (noun) Middle English syse orig., control, regulation, limit < Old French sise, aphetic variant of assise assize; (v.) in part representing late Middle English sisen to regulate (itself partly derivative of the noun, partly aphetic variant of assisen to fix, ordain, assess < Old French assiser, derivative of assise assize), in part derivative of the noun in later senses
Can be confused
sighs, size.
Synonym Study
1. Size, volume, mass, bulk are terms referring to the extent or dimensions of that which has magnitude and occupies space. Size is the general word: of great size; small in size. Volume often applies to something that has no fixed shape: Smoke has volume. Mass, also, does not suggest shape, but suggests a quantity of matter in a solid body: a mass of concrete. Bulk suggests weight, and often a recognizable, though perhaps unwieldy, shape: the huge bulk of an elephant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for size up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Bully for you," he finally said, looking all about as if to size up the surroundings.

    Pee-wee Harris Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • The graduate may be obtained in any size up to 64 ounces, or two quarts.

  • I want to take a look at that bunch of colts and size up the water there.

    The Treasure Trail Marah Ellis Ryan
  • “You size up to him, all right,” observed the man of the desert.

    The Coyote James Roberts
  • size up and weigh the problem yourself and use your own best judgment.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • Tom, you'd better take a look around and size up the damage.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for size up

size up

verb (adverb)
(transitive) to make an assessment of (a person, problem, etc)
to conform to or make so as to conform to certain specifications of dimension


the dimensions, proportions, amount, or extent of something
large or great dimensions, etc
one of a series of graduated measurements, as of clothing: she takes size 4 shoes
(informal) state of affairs as summarized: he's bankrupt, that's the size of it
to sort according to size
(transitive) to make or cut to a particular size or sizes
Derived Forms
sizer, noun
Usage note
The use of -size and -sized after large or small is redundant, except when describing something which is made in specific sizes: a large (not large-size) organization. Similarly, in size is redundant in the expressions large in size and small in size
Word Origin
C13: from Old French sise, shortened from assiseassize


Also called sizing. a thin gelatinous mixture, made from glue, clay, or wax, that is used as a sealer or filler on paper, cloth, or plaster surfaces
(transitive) to treat or coat (a surface) with size
Derived Forms
sizy, adjective
Word Origin
C15: perhaps from Old French sise; see size1
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 size up



c.1300, "an ordinance to fix the amount of a payment or tax," from Old French sise, shortened form of assise "session, assessment, regulation, manner" (see assize), probably a misdivision of l'assise as la sise. The sense of "extent, amount, volume, magnitude" (c.1300) is from the notion of regulating something by fixing the amount of it (weights, food portions, etc.). Specific sense of "set of dimensions of a manufactured article for sale" is attested from 1590s.



c.1400, "to regulate," from size (n.). Meaning "to make of a certain size" is from c.1600; that of "to classify according to size" is first attested 1630s. Verbal phrase size up "estimate, assess" is from 1847 and retains the root sense of size (n.). Related: Sized; sizing.

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

size up

verb phrase

To estimate or assess: How do you size up his chances? (1847+)


Related Terms


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 size up

size up

Make an estimate, opinion, or judgment of, as in She sized up her opponent and decided to withdraw from the election. This usage transfers measuring the size of something to broader meaning. [ Late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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