According to Oxford dictionary, stand someone up means:

Fail to keep an appointment with a boyfriend or girlfriend

However, according to Cambridge, simply:

To fail to meet someone you had arranged to see

Can I use it for an appointment with a friend? If not, what are the most used alternatives?


Yes, the phrase can be used in the context of a platonic friendship, although I believe you’ll find it most often used in the context of a date. That said, here is one example where the context seems to be outside of a romantic relationship:

After having missed several lunch appointments with a friend, the student made plans to meet a friend for lunch. At 5 o’clock the student realized: "I stood up my friend again".

Source: The Self-Conscious Emotions: Theory and Research, 2013

It looks like Oxford focuses on the most common use of the term in its definition, while Cambridge defines the phrasal verb more broadly. I wouldn’t call either definition wrong; I’d just say that Oxford’s might be incomplete.

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  • Thanks for the explanation! One additional question, if I miss an appointment with a friend then, is this the phrase to go or is there some other more appropriate expression? – PesaThe Sep 3 '17 at 14:10
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    @PesaThe - There is no single phrase that must be used. You can say, “I missed the appointment,” “I forgot about the appointment,” “I was a no-show,” among others. – J.R. Sep 4 '17 at 23:22

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