act up


1. (of a person) behave poorly or inappropriately, (of a thing) fail to function properly






Check Icon How to Memorize

my phone/computer is acting up at the moment

Check Icon Analysis

This phrasal verb relates to behaviour or function, whether it is about people or technology. If someone is 'acting up', they are probably misbehaving or disobeying instructions; and if a machine or anything mechanical or electrical, for example, doesn't work properly, you might say that it's 'acting up': "I don't know what's wrong with my computer. It's really acting up this morning. I think I'll just restart it." You can use this phrasal verb in any context, social or professional.

Check Icon Social Examples (Basic)

  1. My car was acting up this morning so I had to take the bus to work.
  2. John has been ruled out of the match because his knee began to act up after training yesterday.
  3. My little brother always acts up when he gets bored, which can be very embarrassing if we're in public.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. My computer acted up again this morning. The IT Department is sending someone over to try and fix the problem once and for all.
  2. Make sure Frank sticks to the script in the presentation. We can’t risk him acting up and risking us the contract.

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