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I understand the meaning of "triple", but what does "triple up" mean? What is the meaning of "up"?

Our campuses are increasing class sizes. Services may be diminished. Even in residence halls, you might see more tripling up. It's that type of ripple effect in the quality of the student experience.


Admissions officers at the State University of New York college campus here are suddenly afraid of getting what they have always wished for: legions of top high-school seniors saying "yes" to their fat envelopes. Students are already tripled up in many dorm rooms after an unexpectedly large freshman class entered last fall.

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Triple up means they are probably putting three students in space originally intended to hold two. The example in the second definition at the Urban Dictionary talks about putting three students in a school bus seat meant for two.

The up doesn't mean anything by itself, only as part of the phrase. Triple up is an extension of the verb phrase double up:

Verb phrase
51. double up,
a. to share quarters planned for only one person or family: Because of the room shortage, we had to double up.

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I had always thought the "up" part of the expression originated from gambling slang, but the only thing I could find was "double down" meaning you double your wager: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackjack

"Triple up" is just one step further than doubling up. You can effectively ignore the "up" if it's confusing... Your passage is describing that resources are stretched to triple capacity (The dorms have 3 times more students than they were designed for).

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Slang expressions with 'up' definitely appear in some gambling contexts; see my answer for example. I suppose it's possible that my interpretation is wrong, and instead there's a gambling specific idiom that chips go "down" when you wager them and "up" when you win them and thus put them back in your stack. – Karl Knechtel Oct 11 '11 at 22:46

I would say the general sense of "tripling up" is "assembling into triples (sets of three)". In a poker tournament, "tripling up" means tripling your chip count (roughly), usually by wagering all your chips against two other players and winning. In the given context, it means putting three students into a room.

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