Up and about

What is the meaning of the phrase ‘Up and about’?

Active and mobile. (Particularly after a period of rest or inactivity.)

What is the origin of the phrase ‘Up and about’?

The phrase ‘Up and about’ is of unknown origin, but it is thought to date back to at least the 1800s.

The phrase ‘Up and about’ is not to be confused with the phrases ‘Out and about’, which means out of the home doing things, as opposed to merely being out of bed, or the phrase ‘Up and at ‘em’ which is a way of telling someone to get going.

Similarly, you should also be careful not to confuse the phrase ‘Up and about’ with the phrase ‘On the up and up’, which, while very similar, simply means ‘in improvement’, and does not always mean to say that a person has become more active.

What are some notable uses of the phrase ‘Up and about’?

An early recorded use of the phrase can be found in “The Diary of Samuel Pepys”, dating back to the 1660s.

Uses of the phrase ‘Up and about’ can also be found in works of classic literature, including in ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ by the author Mark Twain, published in 1876. Similar phrases are also to be found in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by author Jane Austen, published in 1813, and ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott, published in 1868.

The phrase is still used today, including in everyday conversation, in news media, social media, and on TV shows. In addition to referring to recovery from illness or bad spirits, it is also used to refer to returning to one’s usual level of activity.

Trend of up and about in printed material over time

Cari Mayhew - Author at Phrase Finder

Cari Mayhew

Lifelong learner, phrase fanatic, and lover of literature across multiple genres. Cari Mayhew has a passion for expression, and a keen curiosity for how phrases begin and how their use transforms over time. She is often found looking for the ideal idiom to convey her thoughts and musings.