Definition of show someone/something up in English:

show someone/something up

phrasal verb

  • 1Expose someone or something as being bad or faulty.

    ‘it's a pity they haven't showed up the authorities for what they are’
    • ‘It has made me dig out my old diary from 1985-6 which is full of embarrassing, poorly crafted rubbish and shows me up to be the young idiot that I suspected I must have been.’
    • ‘We have to take them on on the ground, and show them up for who they really are and what they - really - stand for.’
    • ‘They looked fine to the untrained eye, but closer examination showed them up to be fairly sloppy.’
    • ‘It also, more disturbingly, shows us up as a people who are appallingly irresponsible, callous and who have devalued and degraded human life.’
    • ‘Writing off communism as a fad for silly kids is just as bad as showing it up as a serious menace.’
    • ‘They are so pathetic that it would be easy to show them up for the liars they are.’
    • ‘All this shows him up for what he is, a particularly vicious form of life that preys on others not to survive but in order to prosper.’
    • ‘Your endorsement of this article shows you up for what everyone knows you to truly be.’
    • ‘That he now breaches my privacy by apparently accessing my social welfare records is unethical, illegal, and shows him up for what he is.’
    • ‘They might get the feeling that you've shown them up as fools.’
    expose, reveal, bring to light, lay bare, make visible, make obvious, manifest, highlight, pinpoint, put the spotlight on
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    1. 1.1show someone upinformal Embarrass or humiliate someone.
      ‘she says I showed her up in front of her friends’
      • ‘Are they afraid that their little cousins will show them up?’
      • ‘I'm not saying he didn't spot me through the window, but the fact remains that he was outside for a good hour and I recently showed him up at his club by turning up in a bad tie, crumpled chinos and with holes in the soles of my shoes.’
      • ‘He always went out of his way to show her up or embarrass her.’
      • ‘Robert wants to become a professor (an exalted position in Britain), so does not want a pushy young intern showing him up.’
      • ‘But rather than showing them up, he has actually drawn something quite impressive from them.’
      • ‘But the people here think they're just trying to show us up.’
      • ‘They were always going out with the lads and showing him up.’
      • ‘Today she was determined to show me up by scrubbing her decorative concrete paving with a brush and some ‘Mr Propre’ cleaning liquid (her son works in Brussels).’
      humiliate, humble, mortify, bring down, take down, bring low, demean, expose, show in a bad light, shame, put to shame, discomfit, disgrace, discredit, downgrade, debase, degrade, devalue, dishonour, embarrass
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