What does the idiom "be up and about" mean?

You are wondering about the meaning of the phrase be up and about, maybe you heard it in a TV show, movie or theater play. Although this idiom is not used very often, it enriches your capacity of expression and strengthens communication. In which case is the expression be up and about used and what is its meaning?

Meaning of "be up and about"


The phrase "be up and about" is a phrase that is used to describe someone who is active and busy doing something. It is usually used when referring to a person who is recovered from an illness or injury and is now able to move more freely. The phrase can also be used to describe someone who is going out and doing activities, either personally or professionally.


The phrase "be up and about" originated in the United Kingdom in the late 1700s. It is derived from the phrase "to be up and doing something," which was widely used in the UK during this period. It was used to describe a person who was engaged in some sort of activity or work, and was not sitting idle. In other words, it was a phrase that indicated a person's energy and productivity.


The phrase "be up and about" is usually used in an informal setting, such as in everyday conversation. It can also be used in a more formal way to describe someone's activities. For example, a doctor might say, "I'm pleased to see that you are up and about again," or when discussing a business, one might say, "We need to get up and about to get the project finished on time."

Example Sentences

  • After his long illness, it was a relief to see him up and about again.
  • We need to be up and about if we want to get this job done in time.
  • The CEO is always up and about, travelling to different countries to meet potential investors.

The meanings of the words in the "be up and about" idiom

From Shakespeare to Social Media: The Evolution of English Idioms

English idioms have been around for centuries, with many originating from sources like literature, mythology, and everyday life. Shakespeare, for example, coined many phrases that are still used today, such as "break the ice" and "heart of gold." Over time, new idioms have emerged, with social media and popular culture providing rich sources of inspiration. For instance, the phrase "throwing shade" came into use in the 1990s thanks to ball culture, but has since been popularized by social media.


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