show up


showed up; shown up or showed up; showing up; shows up

transitive verb

: to expose or discredit especially by revealing faults
showed them up as frauds
… it showed him up for the irrelevant and offensive person he really is …Owen Bennett
: to embarrass or cause to look bad especially by comparison
trying to show up the boss
The offensive line has been sub par with the defensive line showing them up for at least a few days.James Anderson
: reveal
showed up my ignorance

intransitive verb

: arrive, appear
showed up late for his own wedding
Hundreds of tourists showed up, wearing bright sweaters, even though it was warm.Tony Earley
: to become involved with others and make an active contribution
But what we have to remind ourselves, and each other, is that our democracy only works for us if we show up.America Ferrera
also : to provide help and support for someone
If you're in a position to defend and protect someone who is a victim of abuse, then do it … Show up for them. Sa'iyda Shabazz
: to be plainly evident
… [Woody Hayes] cared so much about people. That showed up in the way he did things in the community, the way he lent his name to charity events.Kyle Rowland

Examples of show up in a Sentence

normally, one doesn't see them, but the actress's wrinkles show up in the close-ups the band showed up an hour late
Recent Examples on the Web Organizers said around 100 police officers showed up at the event Friday morning, but did not raise any concerns with them about the conference program. Loveday Morris, Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2024 It’s come in thinking about ways to show up and surround myself with people who genuinely care about liberatory practices. Zahra Hankir, Condé Nast Traveler, 13 Apr. 2024 Those numbers will likely show up in the water systems' yearly report, which all systems in Wisconsin are required to put out, in order to keep the public informed. More:Could cannabis hemp and alfalfa solve PFAS contamination? Laura Schulte, Journal Sentinel, 12 Apr. 2024 The Long Beach Fire Department also showed up and took him to a local hospital, where he was initially listed as being in stable condition. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 12 Apr. 2024 Cincinnati Enquirer readers showed up to choose the next Students of the Week for the period ending April 7. Melanie Laughman, The Enquirer, 12 Apr. 2024 The midseason finale ends with our first glimpse of the Maddie-Chimney wedding: Buck and Eddie show up late, looking completely disheveled, and Chimney is nowhere to be found. Max Gao, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Apr. 2024 On the Monday after Easter, only five kindergarteners out of a class of around 25 students showed up to one of Phoenix Elementary's schools, which Aleshire attributed to families turning a three-day weekend into a longer vacation. The Arizona Republic, 12 Apr. 2024 And who shows up to the polls on Election Day will also influence other races. Elizabeth Robinson, NBC News, 11 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'show up.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1812, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of show up was in 1812

Dictionary Entries Near show up

Cite this Entry

“Show up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

show up

: to reveal the true nature of by uncovering faults : expose
were shown up for the fools they really are
: to be where one is expected to be : arrive
showed up on time

Legal Definition


: a presentation of a criminal defendant or arrestee individually to a witness for identification compare lineup

Note: A showup identification may withstand a due process challenge when there is an emergency situation, when the presentation is accidental, or when otherwise the totality of the circumstances render it justifiable.

More from Merriam-Webster on show up

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