Up a Tree to Usher
Up to the Hub Hub is an archaic word for the nave of a wheel, the hilt of a weapon, or the mark aimed
at in quoits. If a cart sinks in the mud up to the hub, it can sink no lower; if a man is thrust through with
a sword up to the hub, the entire sword has passed through him; and if a quoit strikes the hub, it is not
possible to do better. Hence the phrase means fully, entirely, as far as possible. It is not American, but
archaic English. (See Hub .)
I shouldn't commune with nobody that didn't believe in election up to the hub.- Mrs. Stowe: Dred, vol. i. p. 311.
Up to the Mark In good condition of health; well skilled in proposed work. Not up to the mark means a cup too low, or not sufficiently skilled.
Up-turning of his Glass He felt that the hour for the up-turning of his glass was at hand. He knew that the sand of life was nearly run out, and that death was about to turn his hour-glass upside down.
Upas-tree or Poison-tree of Macassar. Applied to anything baneful or of evil influence. The tradition is
that a putrid stream rises from the tree which grows in the island of Java, and that whatever the vapour
touches dies. This fable is chiefly due to Foersch, a Dutch physician, who published his narrative in
1783. Not a tree, he says, nor blade of grass is to be found in the valley or surrounding mountains.
Not a beast or bird, reptile or living thing, lives in the vicinity. He adds that on one occasion 1,600
refugees encamped within fourteen miles of it, and all but 300 died within two months. This fable Darwin
has perpetuated in his Loves of the Plants. Bennett has shown that the Dutchman's account is a mere
traveller's tale, for the tree while growing is quite innocuous, though the juice may be used for poison; the
whole neighbourhood is most richly covered with vegetation: men can fearlessly walk under the tree, and
birds roost on its branches. A upas tree grows in Kew Gardens, and flourishes amidst other hot-house
On the blasted heath
Upper Crust The lions or crack men of the day. The phrase was first used in Sam Slick. The upper
crust was at one time the part of the loaf placed before the most honoured guests. Thus, in Wynkyn
de Worde's Boke of Keruinge (carving) we have these directions: Then take a lofe in your lyfte hande,
and pare ye lofe rounde about; then cut the ouer-cruste to your souerayne ... Furnwall, in Manners and
Meales, etc., says the same thing- Kutt the vpper cruste for your souer-ayne.
I want you to see Peel, Stanley, Graham, Shiel, Russell, Macaulay, old Joe, and so on. They are all upper crust here.
Upper Storey The head. Ill-furnished in the upper storey; a head without brains.
Upper Ten Thousand or The Upper Ten. The aristocracy. The term was first used by N.P. Willis, in speaking of the fashionables of New York, who at that time were not more than ten thousand in number.
Uproar is not compounded of up and roar, but is the German auf-ruhren (to stir up).
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