What do you feel "up" in "eat up" and "wait up" indicates? Does it sound like "be quick" (eat up) or "I'll be quick" (wait up)?

1 Answer 1


The connotation is completion.

"Wait up!" means "wait a sufficient time for me to catch up".

If you eat something up, you don't just take a bite of it, you consume it entirely.

  • I would say "wait up" means "don't go to bed until..." Dec 16, 2017 at 21:43
  • It can mean that too. But my example has an exclamation point, and is thus in the imperative voice.
    – TimR
    Dec 16, 2017 at 21:43
  • I was going to edit, but then decided that up in your usage might not denote completion but the opposite of "down", i.e. not asleep. I will wait up for you. Don't come home too late.
    – TimR
    Dec 16, 2017 at 21:49
  • 1
    Heh! I almost upvoted the first single sentence answer. The edit was confusion. Your last comment was better: completion. Dec 16, 2017 at 21:52

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