Make up someone (put makeup on someone else's face)

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,

I did a lot of searching online, but couldn't find a satisfactory answer (explanation). My question: Does "make up someone" meaning "put makeup (= substances such as lipstick or powder) on someone else's face" sound natural/correct in the examples I made below?

a. Jane was making up her mother, who was going to a golden wedding anniversary party. Jane's mother wanted to look beautiful.
b. Mary makes up a lot of women every week.
c. Who made you up? 'Well, I hired the best makeup artist in town. His name is John Michaels. In all modesty, I looked very beautiful.'

Thank you in advance!
 
Last edited:
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    To 'make up' can also mean 'to invent' or 'to compose' - as in to make up a story, or a song. So in a and b, for instance, it could sound a little strange and ambiguous.

    I would go with 'to make . . . (someone) up'.
     

    Apy

    New Member
    Italian - Italy
    I'm not a native but on the Oxford Learner's dictionary I've found these alternatives (all for the meaning of "putting make-up"):
    make up
    |
    make up somebody
    |
    make up yourself
    |
    make somebody up
    |
    make yourself up

    Unfortunately there are not further examples...but I hope it helps :)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hullo X. They all sound fine to me ... except that I'd prefer the same division of verb and preposition that you have in (c) in (a) and (b) too.
    Jane was making her mother up ...
    Mary makes a lot of women up ...


    As they stand I'm kind of expecting something like stories to follow, i.e. "Jane was telling stories from her imagination", "Mary invents a lot of nonsense" ~ that kind of thing.

    EDIT: X-posted with Heypresto.
     

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    Thank you for your answer.

    I would go with 'to make . . . (someone) up'.
    I didn't quite understand. Did you mean that I should change the position of "up" as I did in the examples below?

    a. Jane was making her mother up, who was going to a golden wedding anniversary party. Jane's mother wanted to look beautiful.
    b. Mary makes a lot of women up every week.
    c. Who made you up?
    Thank you in advance!
     
    Last edited:

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Using the noun "make-up" would reduce the problem.
    Who did your make-up?
    Who applied your make-up?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    'To do somebody's makeup ( for them)' is what I'd say and expect to hear.
    The phrasal verb 'to make up' has so many meanings and of course the context would usually indicate which one is relevant, but all the same I would smile on hearing 'She's making her mother up' because it sounds a little as if she's inventing a character or pretending she has a mother when she doesn't.
     

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    Thank you all for your answers.

    One last question (could you help me please?):

    Do the options below - from my original examples above in the O.P - sound correct with the noun (make-up)?

    a. Jane was doing her mother's make-up, who was going to a golden wedding anniversary party. Jane's mother wanted to look beautiful.
    b. Mary does a lot of women's make-up every week.

    Thank you in advance!
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top