I don't think there's a single word for "to put make-up on", is it?

I'm trying to translate a line from a song, and I'm afraid that the translation will be very ambiguous, because of the many meanings of "to make something up".

The line is the following (translated):

She makes her soul up with lies

I would have used "she puts make-up (on her soul)" but I can't because of the part about lies.

Is the line clear? I don't feel like it means what I want it to mean. How else could I phrase it?

  • No, She makes her soul up with lies would probably confuse most contemporary native speakers. To make a story up can mean "to tell a lie by fabricating falsehoods". It doesn't necessarily imply mascara, lipstick, rouge, etc. They made the story up to explain their absence. The verb paints would probably do. She paints her soul with lies. But it is rather a cliche. google.com/… Apr 23, 2018 at 10:42

1 Answer 1


The answer to your question in the title is: No.

Firstly, you write it as one word: makeup (no hyphen), and then it is either a noun or an adjective. If you write it as two words: make up then it is a verb. The hyphen was dropped in the early 1980's.

In addition, the verb to make up (to invent, construct something) is not related (conceptually) to the noun makeup (cosmetics).

Secondly, in your example, you have taken the infinitive (to make up) and split it. It is not wrong, per se, to split infinitives, even if purists will claim that one never should. Having said that, you need to be aware that splitting an infinitive often creates a slightly different meaning that what you intended.

Your version of the sentence doesn't roll off the tongue. However, you could (IMHO) get away with the following:

She makes up her soul with lies.

The difference being that the verb is now not divided by her soul.


If you want the cosmetics to be what makes up her soul, then you could possibly write

She applies a makeup of lies to her soul.

It sounds a bit odd, but what with poetic license (translation of song lyrics), you ought to be okay.


Some further suggestions based on the comments.

She puts a makeup of lies on her soul.

She wears a makeup of lies on her soul.

She wears a makeup of lies as her soul.

The third one gives a stronger feeling that her soul is basically constructed from lies, whereas the first two imply that she still has her soul, but it has been enhanced with a coat of lies.

  • A few corrections: I admit that the title of my question is not the best, I was 90% sure there was no alternative so I'm mostly asking about another phrasing, but I didn't want to exclude any possibility. About splitting the verb, I said that because I found She made the child up to look like a clown. in a dictionary (WordReference). Apr 23, 2018 at 12:48
  • 1
    Thanks! I like "a makeup of lies" a lot! Wouldn't "She puts on a makeup ..." be more natural? Also, if it's a habit (something she'd do everyday), would "She wears a makeup of lies" work too? Where would the soul part go? Apr 23, 2018 at 12:50

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