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Big-Ups: Meaning, Usage, Synonyms, and Examples

To be more precise, big ups, or big-ups, is an idiom that’s considered a bit dated. Learning its origins will help you understand it and remember it more easily.

Valentina Dordevic
Valentina Dordevic

Big-ups may not be a common phrase, but it’s still used on certain occasions. Therefore, knowing its meaning and synonyms will help you use it correctly and avoid any misunderstanding. Whether hyphenated or not, it’s still the exact phrase that functions as a noun or a verb in the sentence.

To be more precise, big ups, or big-ups, is an idiom that’s considered a bit dated. Learning its origins will help you understand it and remember it more easily.

The Origins of “Big-Ups”

The big-ups phrase is considered an old Caribbean phrase that entered American and British English in the 1990s. The English-speaking parts of this region used the phrase to highlight or increase the importance of someone or to refer to a strong and powerful person.

Outside this region, “big ups” was first noticed in London and New York City, where Caribbean immigrants have influenced the evolution of the hip-hop culture.

“Big Ups”: Meaning and Usage as a Noun

Today, “big ups” is mostly used as a noun, but it can also function as a verb. As a noun, big ups expresses approval or respect or the act of acknowledging someone.

Examples:

The boss has given Tom big ups for his strong work ethic.
I like to send big ups to my friend who’s somewhere in the audience.

“Big Ups”: Meaning and Usage as a Verb

“Big ups” is rarely used as a verb, but when it has this function in the sentence, it’s used to praise or pay homage to someone or something, say someone or something is important or famous (as a proclaim or exaggeration), or to become big. Remember that “big ups” can also be used in singular - big up.

Examples:

I like to big up my friend on the mic.
Big ups to everyone who made this happen.

“Big-Ups” Slang

Big ups can be slang for gaining muscle mass through exercise.

Example:

She works out tirelessly to big up herself.

Synonyms of “Big-Ups”

The following synonyms of “big ups” will help you better understand the meaning of this idiom. In fact, you’ll realize that its synonyms are more commonly used than the idiom itself. These include a shout-out, props, and kudos.

Examples:

He opened his performance with a shout-out to his mother.
Kudos to him for finishing the job on time.
She gave props to her parents for their continued support throughout the years.

Video Example:

Coach Carter (2005)
EnglishIdioms & expressions

Valentina Dordevic

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Valentina Dordevic

Hello! My name is Valentina. Book digesting is my specialty. I transform book ideas into easy-to-follow summaries, articles, study guides, reviews, essays, analyses, slides, or e-books.

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