Definition of “do (sth) up” - English Dictionary

“do (sth) up” in British English

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do (sth) up

phrasal verb with do uk // /du/ /duː/ us // /du/ /duː/ verb did, done

UK to fasten something or become fastened:

Can you help me to do up my dress?
Do your shoes/laces up before you trip over.
These trousers must have shrunk - I can't do them up.
These trousers won't do up.

More examples

  • If you put any more in that suitcase you won't be able to do it up!
  • He's put on so much weight that his best trousers won't do up any more.
  • This watch strap is very fiddly - can you do it up for me?
  • If you don't do up the cage properly the hamster will escape.
  • Does this skirt do up at the side or at the back?

do sth up

phrasal verb with do uk // /du/ /duː/ us // /du/ /duː/ verb did, done


B2 to repair or decorate a building so that it looks attractive:

I'd like to buy a run-down house and do it up.

More examples

  • He does up old houses and sells them at a profit.
  • They wanted to buy a house they could do up.
  • They reckoned it would take six months to do up the house before they could move in.
  • They did up an old cottage and now rent it out to holiday makers.
  • This house will be worth a fortune when it's done up.

(Definition of “do (sth) up” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

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