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teacher: "put your books up"

//meaning to put away our books to be ready to take the tests

What is the meaning of the example above?

I am confused as it doesn't make much sense if you translate the words separately

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Can you please give some more context? "Put your books up" sounds like an instruction to students to quit reading and put their books away. –  JLG Apr 21 '12 at 4:31
    
Without context, I have no idea what the teacher is asking them to do. –  Colin Fine Apr 21 '12 at 12:44
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Up is not always the antonym of down, particularly in verb phrases such as put up, shut up, show up, or end up. In this case, "put up your books" is essentially the same as "put away your books."

The translation doesn't make sense only if you mistakenly translate the words put and up as two separate words, instead of as the transitive verb put up.

Besides meaning to put away, put up can also mean to erect (as in, the city put up a new building), to hang, as a picture (put up some posters for next week's concert), to tolerate (she put up with his bad manners), to provide housing for (we put up our in-laws for a week), or to place for sale (the estate was put up for auction last week).

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Put up can mean a variety of things, depending on context and usage. In the situation given, though, it means "return the object (book) to a not-ready-to-use condition", i.e. close the book and place it back on the shelf, or in your desk, or in a corner of the table.

Per the definitions at m-w.com, the teacher is using it in sense 1(a) or 1(d).

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