Definition of up against in English:

up against


  • 1Close to or in contact with.

    ‘crowds pressed up against the barricades’
    • ‘He pulled me close but I freaked and found myself pushed up against my side of the car.’
    • ‘Jackie was leaned up against a tree with his eyes closed and his hands on his stomach.’
    • ‘I don't like standing in a packed out lift with people pressed right up against me.’
    • ‘He was leaning up against the door, pressing his ear to the wood to see if she was coming to let him in.’
    • ‘The door appeared to have a table pushed up against it, and there's rather too much noise going on in there to be healthy.’
    • ‘Later, I saw the pair of them with their noses pressed up against the back door of our neighbours.’
    • ‘So it was down guitars again and leaning out the window to witness the police pinning this guy up against my front door.’
    • ‘When she turned into the passage I pressed myself up against the wall and held my finger over my lips.’
    • ‘Her eyes were closed and she was propped up against the trunk of the tree.’
    • ‘An abandoned house - well, abandoned except for the cattle rubbing up against it.’
    touching, in contact with, close up to, up against, abutting, on, adjacent to
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    1. 1.1informal Confronted with.
      ‘I began to think of what teachers are up against today’
      • ‘It was a tough task for the elder of the siblings, who was up against Davis Cup exponent David Sherwood.’
      • ‘When we look at what we are up against, it would be absolutely fundamental.’
      • ‘Tommy did very well in a very tough category where he was up against strong competition.’
      • ‘They are playing on foreign soil, are a long way from home and will be up against a very partisan crowd.’
      • ‘England will be up against a degree of mental hardness which no other Test country begins to approach.’
      • ‘You will learn why it is so crucial that we fight on, who's on our side, and who/what we are up against.’
      • ‘After running the top dogs close, City are up against a side just a point below them.’
      • ‘You have to stay close to your opponents, especially when you are up against big names, and we did that.’
      • ‘On the day they were up against a very good side who never allowed them to play to their potential.’
      • ‘The letter from Mr Ritter only goes to show the problems we are up against.’
    2. 1.2up against itinformal In a difficult situation.
      ‘they play better when they're up against it’
      • ‘Suddenly, Yorkshire were up against it and there was no way back when Fellows became the first of the run out victims.’
      • ‘Bruce, is it tough when the client is up against it media-wise?’
      • ‘People are visibly up against it, unless they're in the parallel dollar-economy.’
      • ‘Given Kildare's population, smaller counties are really up against it.’
      • ‘We'll be up against it, but it's a challenge that every player is looking forward to.’
      • ‘We were up against it, because we had to play more than an hour with one man less.’
      • ‘Both 20, and up against it, they become friends and wind up sharing an apartment.’
      • ‘Regulars at the Frog Hall are up against it in their battle to save the pub.’
      • ‘Norwich City were up against it from day one in the Premiership.’
      • ‘We didn't get the call until 2pm and we knew we would be up against it for the rest of the day.’
      destitute, poverty-stricken, impoverished, indigent, penniless, insolvent, impecunious, ruined, pauperized, without a penny to one's name, without two farthings to rub together, without two pennies to rub together
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