rev up: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘rev up’ mean?

The idiom "rev up" means to increase the intensity or speed of something, typically to prepare for action or to raise one's energy level. It is often used in contexts related to engines or motors, but can also be used metaphorically to describe increasing enthusiasm or excitement.

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The idiom "rev up" is commonly used in American English and has a clear and straightforward meaning. It refers to the act of increasing energy or intensity. The origin of the idiom can be traced back to the early 20th century in the automotive industry. "Rev" is a shortened form of "revolutions" or "revolutions per minute" (RPM), which refers to the speed at which an engine's crankshaft revolves.

Over time, "rev up" started to be used metaphorically in non-automotive contexts. It became synonymous with intensifying or accelerating something. The idiom implies a deliberate effort to inject more energy and vigor into something in order to achieve a desired outcome. Today, it is widely used in various contexts and can be found in both professional and personal scenarios.

In professional or business scenarios, "rev up" can be used to refer to tasks or projects that require more effort or enthusiasm to get started or to reach a higher level of performance. For example, someone might say, "Let's rev up our marketing campaign to increase sales." This suggests the need to ramp up efforts and make them more dynamic and effective.

In personal contexts, "rev up" can be used to express motivation, excitement, or readiness. For instance, someone might say, "I need to rev up my workout routine to get in better shape." This indicates a desire to push harder and achieve better results through increased dedication and intensity.

The intensity of acceleration determines speed and energy usage.

The idiom "rev up" is well-established and widely understood, but its usage can vary in different regions and among different social groups. The popularity of the idiom may also fluctuate over time, as language and idiomatic expressions evolve. Nevertheless, it remains a useful and versatile phrase in American English, allowing individuals to convey the idea of increasing energy or intensity with clarity and conciseness.

Another idiom related to "rev up" is "crank up," which also means to increase energy or intensity. This idiom has its origins in the mechanical action of cranking a machine, such as a car or a generator, to start it or increase its power. "Crank up" can be used interchangeably with "rev up" to convey the same idea of intensifying or accelerating something.

Similarly, the idiom "juice up" can be used as a synonym for "rev up." "Juice" in this context refers to adding more power or energy to something. For example, someone might say, "We need to juice up our sales strategy to boost revenue." This implies the need to increase the energy and effectiveness of the sales strategy to achieve better results.

Another related idiom is "hit the accelerator," which means to increase speed or intensity. This idiom originates from driving a car and pressing the accelerator pedal to increase its speed. In a metaphorical sense, "hitting the accelerator" can be used to describe the act of increasing the pace or intensity of an action or process. For instance, someone might say, "Let's hit the accelerator on this project to meet the deadline." This suggests the need to increase the speed and intensity of the project to ensure its timely completion.

Lastly, the idiom "in high gear" is also related to "rev up" and means to be operating at a high level of intensity or productivity. This idiom comes from the idea of a car being in a high gear, which allows it to move at a faster pace. In a figurative sense, "in high gear" can be used to describe someone or something that is performing at a highly productive and efficient level. For example, someone might say, "We're in high gear with our production line, meeting all our targets." This indicates that the production line is operating at a fast and efficient pace, achieving its goals.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *rev up* can be used in a sentence:

  1. Jack revved up the engine of his new sports car.
  2. The coach gave a motivational speech to rev up the team before the big game.
  3. The crowd started to rev up as the rock band took the stage.

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