Please explain the meaning of 'makes up' using with time and the meaning of whole phrase here.

It is the pursuit of your goals -- not the reaching of them -- that makes up the weeks, days and hours of our lives.

I read this definition in Collins

If you make up time or hours, you work some extra hours because you have previously taken some time off work.

It does not help me understand the meaning of whole phrase.


1 Answer 1


In this context "x makes up y" means that x are the component parts of y.

For example:

Blood is made up of four primary components.

This is used idiomatically instead of simply saying "made of" when you can number or name multiple component parts. If something is made of just one thing you would simply say:

The table is made of wood.

Your example is saying that the time we spend pursuing goals "adds up" to make the weeks, days and hours of our life. It is because we may have many goals and pursue them in different ways that it says that this time "..makes up the weeks, days and hours of our lives".

Do not confuse this with the expression "make up time", which refers to doing something to remove a deficit of time, for example:

I only worked 35 hours this week, but I am supposed to work 37. I need to make up that time.

  • is it like or the same as 'take time' meaning for whole phrase - makes up / takes the weeks, days and hours of our lives?
    – Vitaly
    Feb 20, 2019 at 14:26

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