spruce up

phrasal verb

spruced up; sprucing up; spruces up
: to make (someone or something) look cleaner, neater, or more attractive
We spruced up the room with a fresh coat of paint.
I need to spruce myself up a bit before we go out to dinner.

Did you know?

titivate, spruce up, smarten up, or spiff up?

Titivate, spruce, smarten, and spiff all mean "to make a person or thing neater or more attractive." Titivate often refers to making small additions or alterations in attire ("titivate the costume with sequins and other accessories"), but it can also be used figuratively (as in "titivating the script for Broadway"). Spruce up is sometimes used for cosmetic changes or renovations that give the appearance of newness ("spruce up the house with new shutters and fresh paint before trying to sell it"). Smarten up and spiff up both mean to improve in appearance often by making more neat or stylish ("the tailor smartened up the suit with minor alterations"; "he needed some time to spiff himself up for the party"). The origins of titivate are uncertain, but it may have been formed from the English words tidy and renovate.

Examples of spruce up in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Out back, the half-acre lot is shaded by mature trees and is visually spruced up by a Mediterranean-style garden awash in lavender and bougainvillea. James McClain, Robb Report, 24 Aug. 2023 Per the renovation, the homeowners spruced up their grounds with river stones, which are less combustible in fires than alternatives like pumice, limestone, and gravel. Kelsey Mulvey, House Beautiful, 24 Aug. 2023 Not only will these fall vegetables taste great in your seasonal dishes, but their warm colors and big, leafy structures will spruce up your home garden. Zoe Denenberg, Southern Living, 21 Aug. 2023 Photo: Kyle Mazza/Zuma Press Former residents of D.C. who’ve been away for a while are sometimes surprised to see how much the city has been spruced up with new office buildings, condos, restaurants and sports venues. James Freeman, WSJ, 9 Aug. 2023 Beach camping is allowed along the lake, but if sleeping in a tent isn’t your thing, hotel owners who grew up summering at Lake Mac have recently spruced up old shorefront lodges. Jen Murphy, Travel + Leisure, 6 Aug. 2023 Furniture stocks have also rallied this year, indicating that Americans who can’t or don’t want to move are sprucing up their homes instead, says Rathbun. Krystal Hur, CNN, 1 Sep. 2023 For those looking to spruce up their coffee tables with a book that is as enchanting as the interiors it's set in, consider one that celebrates over 100 years of Bulgari horology. Isiah Magsino, Town & Country, 29 Aug. 2023 Advertisement - Continue Reading Below 13 Twist Wrap Ponytail Easy Hairstyle Whether to spruce up her go-to ponytail or keep her hair tightly in place during soccer games, this twisted creation works for any occasion and takes five minutes, tops. Blair Donovan, Country Living, 28 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Dictionary Entries Near spruce up

Cite this Entry

“Spruce up.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spruce%20up. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

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