What is the meaning of "sneeze up a storm" in the following sentence(Source: THE BIG SNEEZE by WILLJAM VAN HORN),

"Goodness, Bert," said Charlie.

"With sneeze like that, you could sneeze up a storm!"

It so happened that the sky was growing dark and stormy-looking.

But the three dinosaurs didn't notice anything.

They were waiting to see if Bert would sneeze again.


Does "you could sneeze up a storm" mean "you sneezed. A storm arose after(because of) your sneezing" or "A storm arose. You sneezed toward the storm. The storm disappeared because of your sneezing" ?

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    Idiomatically, you can talk / conjure / stir / blow / raise a storm - meaning to create a (usually, metaphorical) storm. Charlie's usage is a one-off coinage based on those (he's whimsically suggesting Bert's sneezing is so violent it could actually influence the weather and create a storm). So it's not a matter of the sneeze stopping a storm - it's whether it might start one. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 20 '18 at 13:20
  • If so, Does "up" in "you could sneeze up a storm" mean "to create" ? Does "you could sneeze up a storm" mean "you could sneeze to create a storm" ? – user22046 May 20 '18 at 13:54
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    For all I know, your cited writer is the only person in history who has every said anything like You could sneeze up a storm, so we have to be a little bit careful about saying what it would actually "mean". All you can really say is the speaker is "punning" on the well-established conjure up a storm, which means start/create a (nearly always metaphorical) storm / fuss / controversy. But in your cited usage the storm is apparently literal anyway. It's just fanciful / facetious phrasing. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 20 '18 at 14:05

The particle up there conveys the abstract idea of to instantiate or to complete in connection with the verb. A storm is being created as a byproduct of the activity.

P.S. In colloquial American English, and possibly also in British English, a number of verbs can combine with up and a storm.

Where's Fido?
--He's out in the back yard, barking up a storm.

The toddler was so cute as she sang up a storm.

The high-school friends when they met at the reunion talked up a storm.

Those kids were doing the jitterbug, dancing up a storm.

Grandma was moving about the kitchen, stirring pots, checking the oven, chopping vegetables, cooking up a storm. She looked forward to the holiday when the whole family would be together.

The phrase {VERB} up a storm means to "engage in {verb}'s action in a very unrestrained manner, or very energetically". To say that it is producing a storm is a great exaggeration, of course.

  • If so, Does "sneeze up a storm" mean "sneeze to complete(create) a storm" ? Does "whip up a few snacks" mean "whip to complete(create) a few snacks"? Does "barking up a storm" mean "barking to complete(create) a storm" ? – user22046 May 20 '18 at 14:14
  • I've edited my answer. I don't like the infinitive there, whip to complete as the storm is a byproduct not an intentional product of the activity. The activity is being engaged in with such energy that it is creating a storm. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 20 '18 at 15:30

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