(to be) up to something

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - up to something

"(to be) up to something"

to be doing something wrong;

to be doing something secretively


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - up to something

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Ellen sure has been busy this week and she won't tell anyone what she is working on.

Colleague 2:  I know. Every time I come near her desk, she minimizes the application she is working on. And when I ask her what she is working on, she just tells me that it's just her regular work.

Colleague 1:  Well, the CEO is coming for a visit next week. Ellen must be up to something because of that.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - up to something

Two parents are talking ...

Mother:  Have you noticed our daughter's behavior lately?  It's the exact same behavior as when she got into drugs.

Father:  Yes. I have been worried about her. She is acting very secretively again. I wonder what she is doing this time.

Mother:  I don't know but she is definitely up to something again.

(to be) up to something - Usage:


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(to be) up to something - Gerund Form:

Being up to something again, the parents were suspicious of their teenage son.

(to be) up to something - Examples:

1)  She has a sneaking suspicion that he is up to something that he cannot control, and that he is doing something that is not right.

2)  Bastille are well and truly up to something! The pesky bunch tweeted a mysterious logo for something called WWCOMMS.

3)  "The two Jaish militants were up to something big in the city,” said a police officer. “But it will be premature to say conclusively what their target ..."

4)  It meant leaders in industry, engineering or politics looked at the simple activity of riding a bike, and thought we were all up to something terribly ...

5)  Alex was up to something, and he seems to have created a secret numerical code. 

6)  What a cryptic expression the wizard has — might he be up to something secretive? 

7)  He told them to be suspicious of people who suddenly came into lots of money, because they were probably up to something dubious.

8)  Half in shadow and with a haunted expression on her face, she stares out a window as she intones, “Them boys are up to something.”

9)  Olamide and Phyno are always up to something and we can't see what their latest project is.

10)  ... say with certainty that there's more where this came from. Manan and his superstar friends are up to something and we're anxiously anticipating to find out!

11)  There's a conspiratorial tone to it, like Israel's "up to something."

12)  Rachel kind of thought that we were up to something, but I don't think she thought it was that.

13)  “I am inclined to believe,” said Costea, “that Norway is up to something extremely shameful. I am talking about an undeclared policy of ..."

14)  Queen Marge is clearly up to something. I don't buy for a second that she's sincerely converted to the Sparrows' cause.

15)  When asked if he'd had any inkling that the young man was up to something when he was on the bus, the witness said, “No, I didn't get that ..."

16)  Although we just met him this week, Quincannon is one creepy dude, and it looks like he's up to something... but what?

17)  So it's quite possible that Arya is up to something cunning.

18)  Well, apart from creating a whirl in the market with the spied Fiesta, Ford is again up to something. This time, it is about the unveiling of 2016 ...

19)  The Storybrooke heroes quickly figure out that Gold is up to something, but the timing couldn't be worse.

20)  No, he's up to something, but what is it?