People with "up"

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"Up" is an industrious little word, always looking for new ways to make itself useful. 

From the cover piece in today's New York Times Magazine, quoting a member of John McCain's inner circle:

"So the thinking was, do you man up and try to affect the outcome, or do you hold it at arm's length? And no, it was not an easy call."


From Dahlia Lithwick in Slate yesterday: 

It's become a truism of elections that both camps will "lawyer up" before the big day. 

Half a century ago, the OED Online reports, "man up" meant "staff up." And, according to the same source, "to lawyer up" in recent U.S. police slang is 

"to request a lawyer when being questioned by the police, often implying a probable lack of cooperation with the investigation."

(The citation, from 1995, refers to N.Y.P.D. Blue.)

Now "man up" has morphed into a more dignified synonym of "cowboy up" (which busted out of the rodeo arena when it became the Red Sox rallying cry). And "lawyer up" has taken its cue from the old "man up" -- the one that meant "staff up."

Keep an eye on people with "up." They're up-and-comers. 
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