London-related words: to come up, to go up and down

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Chazzwozzer, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. Chazzwozzer

    Chazzwozzer Senior Member


    I was skimming over an English-Turkish dictionary and came across these definitions:

    come up: come to London
    go up: go to London
    down(adj): someone who goes to London
    down(adv): outside of London

    I checked some other dictionaries but didn't see the same meanings defined. Are they now parts of archaicism or still used colloquially?
  2. Sallyb36

    Sallyb36 Senior Member

    Liverpool UK
    British UK
    I'm not from London, but I've never heard these phrases used to mean this exactly.
    we say go up to..... when we talk about going North, and down to.... when we talk about going South.
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I've not heard come up, or go up, used specifically with reference to London - though of course why would I, living so far away:)

    I have, though, come across this usage amongst students of a particular university - originally Oxford - in relation to their fellow-students.
    Where is Cholmondley-Smyth?
    He's not here yet. I believe he's coming up on Tuesday.

    It has a rather archaic ring to it, but that would certainly not mean it isn't still used in Oxford.

    (There are other threads that discuss whether one goes up or down to the city, up or down the road, and so on.)
  4. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Crug Hywel
    UK English
    I am a northerner and I live in London. Londoners (and many southerners) talk about coming up to London and down to the country - in other words any where else that isn't London.

    In the north we definitely talk about going down to London because we use down to mean going south. If a Londoner said he had come down to Manchester or Liverpool, locals would think the person had an attitude problem.
  5. Tei Tetua Member

    UK + USA, English
    It's an old-fashioned usage. In old railway timetables "up trains" always meant towards London, "down trains" away from London, regardless of geographic direction. And students at Oxford (or Cambridge?) would talk about being "up" when they were at college, "down" when they weren't. And being "sent down" was a very very bad situation to be in...have to explain that one to Pater, and he'd be in a frightful wax...
  6. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    In now long-outdated, middle class English, there were only two cities in the UK to which one could "go up", namely London and Edinburgh; you "went down" to everywhere else, regardless of where you were, or your destination.

    I guess this usage hasn't been current for at least 50 years, and I doubt it was widely used even then.
  7. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Crug Hywel
    UK English
    Hate to say it but it's alive and kicking in London. Is there not something similar with the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge too?
  8. sarcie Senior Member

    English - Ireland
    Don't know if you were looking for examples specifically for London, but in Ireland (in my experience), you go "up to Dublin" and "down to Galway/Cork/Donegal/anywhere else". I always thought this was a bit strange, but saying you're going "over to Galway" (for example) does sound wrong to me.
  9. englishman Senior Member

    English England
    Cor blimey, me old mucker, so orl the cockneys say "go daaaaahhn to Manchester", do they ? Lor luvvaduck !

    The other aspect was not specific to Oxford or Cambridge - you generally "go up" to a university (i.e. attend it) and can be "sent down" from it (i.e. be expelled from it) - that's been current usage during my lifetime, though I guess it's becoming old-fashioned too.
  10. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Crug Hywel
    UK English
    In my experience they don't say it because the North is beyond a dark and mysterious line which prevents all possibility of theoretical existence just north of the M25! Northerners are obviously from another dimension.
  11. Porteño Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    British English
    I went into this in some detail in a thread 'go up' on 10 September. I think the basic reason for using 'up' and 'down' derived from the relative importance of the place in people's minds (see my reference to ¿High Street'). In the SE, London is obviously the most important city, but also, being the capital, it is important to all regions of the UK (obviously not Ireland or Scotland, perhaps even Wales) so that I have often heard people in other regions talk about going 'up' to London. As far as I am aware, these expressions (including those regarding Oxford and Cambridge) are still common usage.
  12. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I understand that the original question is about come up, go up - and the assumed reference to London.

    Not about whether we say come up to Liverpool or go down to Godmanchester.
    There are other threads where that topic is discussed.
    I'll find a link to one shortly.

    walking down the street

    "Down" and "up"

    That seems to be two.
  13. Chazzwozzer

    Chazzwozzer Senior Member

    Up is defined as "who goes to the city (adj.)," in the same dictionary. It should come from "The City," the name that was given to London, I suppose.

    It's been interesting to read your comments. Thank you guys.
  14. i heart words New Member

    My understanding is that down refers to southerly and up to northerly destinations, relative to the starting point/hometown. However, an exception to that guideline is that one always goes up to a capital. Hence for a Londoner to go down to Manchester is not an insult, although I would be tempted to rephrase the sentence to avoid any unintended slurs!
  15. london calling Senior Member

    It wouldn't occur to me to say 'go down to Manchester', I'd 'go up to Manchester'.;) And I'm a Londoner.;)

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