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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, 2012 at 17:34
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    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, 2012 at 18:43
  • The only references Google finds for "feeling all made up" refer to the use of cosmetics.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 6, 2018 at 1:45

8 Answers 8

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

5.

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:

6.

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.

But note I'm feeling really down (dejected, depressed), leading to I'm feeling really up (excited, confident). It's easy to see how made might be included there to amplify the sense that there was some (very welcome) external force or event causing you to feel like that.

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    And my favorite, chuffed to bits.
    – Gnawme
    Feb 9, 2012 at 22:59
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    It's a regional Britishism. Merseyside and possibly Manchester.
    – slim
    Feb 9, 2012 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). Feb 9, 2012 at 23:42
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    @FumbleFingers they'll be Southerners who have watched a lot of Brookside ;)
    – slim
    Feb 9, 2012 at 23:53
  • FWIW, I have only heard it used by Yorkshire folk (and possibly points north). Perhaps I didn't watch enough Brookie. Feb 10, 2012 at 15:25
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Yeah, it's Scouse but also in usage along the East Lancs by Mancunians, Salfordians and Stopfordians.

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“(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, 2012 at 16:58
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    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, 2012 at 18:40
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    @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.
    – MetaEd
    Feb 9, 2012 at 23:45
  • @Jay You're right. "Fiction" is a much better choice.
    – MetaEd
    Feb 9, 2012 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, 2012 at 12:52
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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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Whilst it is used extensively in Liverpool I believe it would have originated in the mill towns of northern England. 'Made up' refers to the numbers of clothing items produced and quotas (piece work) met. Made up was a pleased state due to having succeeded in completing your work task.

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  • This answer is a "made-up" theory. Without any evidence to back it up, it is of not value on this site. -1
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 4, 2023 at 16:35
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'Made up': Probably one of those words that only exist in the negative at present. An example is 'disgusting' meaning something that is repulsive to the senses. We do not retain the positive word 'gusting' in the same way.

So if we start from 'dismayed' it is possible to move to 'mayed' up and see some clarity.

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    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Oct 4, 2023 at 8:35
  • Unfortunately for this theory, the only similar use of "may" (and its pp "maied") in the OED is an obsolete use (approx 1380-1575) meaning dismay!
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 4, 2023 at 16:42
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It's a common Liverpool expression. 'My mate's just become a grandmother, she's made-up'. It simply means very happy, or 'over the moon'. My guess is that it comes from putting on make-up, and getting dressed up because it's a celebratory event, exaggerated or otherwise.

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    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Mar 29 at 17:17

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