What does the phrase "it is up to us to flesh it out" mean?

Can you suggest any synonyms?

2 Answers 2


From the New Oxford American Dictionary:

up to: the duty, responsibility, or choice of (someone): it was up to them to gauge the problem


flesh something out: add more details to something that exists only in a draft or outline form: the theorists have fleshed out a variety of scenarios.

So this sentence means (it may not fit exactly, you did not give much context): “it is our responsibility to complete this proposal”

  • 2
    "implement" .NE. "flesh it out". Since we don't know what "it" is. And even if we did... "flesh out the proposal" does not mean to implement it. It means to make it a complete proposal, while it's just a rough sketch now. You can only implement a fully-spelled out proposal (agile methodologies are ignored here ;-)) Feb 10, 2011 at 20:54
  • note that the original phrase is "up to us" so the meaning is “it is our responsibility to complete this proposal”
    – Artem
    Feb 11, 2011 at 3:01

"flesh it out" means to add flesh to the body of something. That is to say, fatten it up, make it more substantial, take a bare bones skeleton project/example and make it a fully formed entity.

In short it is using the metaphor of a body, a skeleton, that needs flesh to be complete - to refer to anything that is just the basic structure and needs to be filled in, completed, made whole.

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