up and down


Up and down. Two words that we generally think of opposites, but in actual use they are quite different.


This became apparent yesterday, when I was in the meeting and the organizers said, “Let’s wait a few minutes for others to turn up”, and I realized that “turn up” is not the opposite of “turn down”. The latter means “to reject or refuse”, and the former refers to the biennial flowering plant Brassica rapa var. rapifera.


We came up with a number of other examples of this phenomena. Here’s the full list



  • Turn up / turn down

  • Show up / show down

  • Throw up / throw down

  • Stand up / stand down

  • Get up / get down

Any others?


Comments (19)

  1. Jim Bolla says:

    in the time it took me to move the mouse cursor from the textbox to the submit button and click, i also thought of…

    shot up / shot down

    beat up / beat down (mean the same thing really, just one is a verb and one is a noun)

  2. Superduck says:

    make up / make down?

    Perhaps this is not totally correct, but if you google for "make down" you’ll find several examples of it’s use.

  3. "I’m up for it" vs. "I’m down for it"

    Strangely enough, they mean exactly the same thing. Slang is a odd thing…

  4. Hang up the phone vs. Hang down the phone

  5. Einar Hoest says:

    tie up & tie down

    pay up & pay down

  6. Paul Dietz says:

    dress up / dress down

  7. Ferris Beuller says:

    *quickly backs against the wall and heads for the nearest Exit*

  8. Mitch Walker says:

    Run up / Run down

    Sit up / Sit down

    Put up / Put down

  9. Brian Schroer says:

    shakeup / shakedown

  10. Chance Gillespie says:

    "GET UP!! AND GET YOUR GRANDMA OUTA HERE!! PICK UP!! OL’ JIM IS WORKING HARD THIS YEAR!!"

    no, there is no up/down thing going on in that quote, but now I’m going to have KISS songs running through my head all night!

  11. Chance Gillespie says:

    "GET UP!! EVERYBODY’S GONNA MOVE THEIR FEET"

    "GET DOWN!!" EVERYBODY’S GONNA LEAVE THEIR SEAT"

    See! what did I tell ya? =)

  12. Dave says:

    but, turn up / turn down, as in volume, are opposites.

  13. Jim Lyon says:

    Screw up / Screw down

  14. William says:

    shoot up and shoot down

  15. Michael says:

    touch up/touchdown

  16. Tom C says:

    How about grow up lol

  17. MBA says:

    Helpful For MBA Fans.