Definition of work something up in US English:

work something up

phrasal verb

  • 1Bring something gradually to a more complete or satisfactory state.

    ‘painters were accustomed to working up compositions from drawings’
    • ‘The first is where you have some wax and you work it up and bring some things in.’
    • ‘He works his paintings up from informative sketches.’
  • 2Develop or produce by activity or effort.

    ‘despite the cold, George had already worked up a fair sweat’
    • ‘Here's my favorite boy toy working up some elbow grease, de-furring the couch with a cat-hair-catching sponge.’
    • ‘But that means travellers would barely work up a sweat before their train arrived.’
    • ‘Exercise is one way to work up a sweat and promote detoxification from the body.’
    stimulate, rouse, raise, arouse, awaken, excite, build up, whet
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