and then was dialed up dramatically


Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
He lit a fire called curiosity. [...] It’s the feeling that something doesn’t quite make sense. That there’s a knowledge gap that has to be closed. This happened right at the start and then was dialed up dramatically with his unexpected data about paraplegics and lottery winners.
(TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking; C. Anderson)

Would you be so kind as to explain to me what exactly it should mean? Is it used here to simply mean 'to bridge/close (a gap)' (and if so, is it that common)?

  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The phrase "dial up" means to increase, ratchet up, etc. It's like the knob that controls volume on a radio or stereo.

    It's a fairly common expression.

    My mind couldn't get past "telephone dial" and "dial up" computer connections. I was considering the "ratchet up" meaning, but I would never have guessed it refers to the volume control knob.

    I don't know whether it's common in BE.


    Senior Member
    English - British
    I believe it is a U.S. usage. It seems fairly recent, at least in its occasional appearance over here.