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I often use the phrase ''you feel made up'' or ''all made up'' when someone feels really happy or pleased about the outcome of something or how things have gone. Where does the meaning for this come from?

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If you said this to me, I'd be either totally puzzled, of the "colorless green ideas sleep furiously" variety, or vaguely offended - how do you get to tell me how I'm feeling (and what exactly does "all made up" feel like, anyway)? – Marthaª Feb 9 '12 at 17:34
Maybe this is a regionalism, because I agree with Martha, it conveys no meaning to me at all. My first reaction would be to demand that you STOP feeling me, whether to see how I'm made or for any other reason. (Unless you're female and pretty, but that's another subject.) – Jay Feb 9 '12 at 18:43

The OED unfortunately does not tell us, though in its entry for "made-up":


a. Irish English and Brit. regional (esp. Liverpool). Surprised and delighted; very pleased, thrilled.

b. Irish English (regional). Of a person: assured of success or happiness; lucky, set-up (cf. made adj. 6a).

we find a reference to made", meaning 6a, which is:


a. Of a person: having his or her success in life (happiness, etc.) assured. Chiefly in a made man .

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It's a Briticism. Here's an article from the UK sports-oriented online magazine The Shuttle, titled Pete's delight... (Pete's a fan of the football team who've just named him "honorary 12th man")

"I feel really made up, it sounds like a small thing but for somebody who has followed the team for so long it really is very important."

The context accords with my understanding that it's primarily part of the vernacular of sportsmen and fans, but I don't think it's uncommon among young people in general. It's pretty much the equivalent of "I'm feeling over the moon".

Purely guessing here, it may come from the bright buzzy feeling a young lady has when she's dressed to the nines, wearing full make-up, out for a night on the town. It may be a variant on to feel puffed up (with pride), but although "pride" is obviously a factor above, it isn't always.

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And my favorite, chuffed to bits. – Gnawme Feb 9 '12 at 22:59
It's a regional Britishism. Merseyside and possibly Manchester. – slim Feb 9 '12 at 23:35
@slim: I'm southern UK, and I hear it from people who don't have Midlands accents. And I know at least one lady from Cardiff who says it (and she's not a sports fan, either). – FumbleFingers Feb 9 '12 at 23:42
@FumbleFingers they'll be Southerners who have watched a lot of Brookside ;) – slim Feb 9 '12 at 23:53
FWIW, I have only heard it used by Yorkshire folk (and possibly points north). Perhaps I didn't watch enough Brookie. – TimLymington Feb 10 '12 at 15:25

“(All) made up” has several common meanings:

  • (completely) fabricated (that is, a fiction)

  • (fully) adorned with cosmetics (that is, ready to see and be seen)

  • reconciled to a person with whom one has argued (that is, forgave/forgiven)

It would be pretty easy for the “cosmetics” meaning to be reused as a metaphor for a feeling of satisfaction. The others, not so much.

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I find that suggestion quite unconvincing. Notice that all three of the meanings you give exist have the corresponding verb "make up", but the meaning terry is asking about hasn't. – Colin Fine Feb 9 '12 at 16:58
Your first definition is a little misleading. A "made-up story" is not necessarily a lie, it could simply be fiction. As in, "The Right Stuff is a true story about space flight, while Star Trek is a made-up story about space flight." Fiction is only a lie if you purport it to be true. – Jay Feb 9 '12 at 18:40
@ColinFine The three definitions I gave are not definitions of terry's complete phrase "you feel (all) made up": they are definitions of the "(all) made up" part. The comparison you're making involving corresponding infinitive forms is meaningless because the things you're comparing don't correspond. – MετάEd Feb 9 '12 at 23:45
@Jay You're right. "Fiction" is a much better choice. – MετάEd Feb 9 '12 at 23:45
@MetaEd: sorry, I don't mean that I find your whole reply unconvincing, just the suggestion that it is from the "cosmetics" meaning. I guess my point about the "make up" form it not particularly relevant, though I don't think it's "meaningless". All it says is that the sense of "made up" must have been transferred from an existing "made up" - such as the route you suggest. – Colin Fine Feb 10 '12 at 12:52

I first heard this in the mid 1960s from a guy (my sister's BF) from Liverpool. We only lived 15m away from Liverpool in N Cheshire (Runcorn) but in the 1960s that was a good way. We hadn't got a clue what he was talking about so he explained. I think it comes from Liverpool therefore

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