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Gin something up

Gin something up is an idiom that originated in the United States in the late 1800s, and has gained popularity again because of its use by President Obama. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of the phrase gin something up,  where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

The idiom gin something up means to increase something, to get something going, to stir something up, to agitate or perhaps make a little trouble, sometimes through less than honest means. The term to gin something up first appeared in the late 1800s in the United States, and there are two theories as to the phrase’s origins. The first theory is that gin something up came from the phrase to ginger something up. This refers to the practice of applying ginger to a horse’s delicate parts before it is shown for auction to make the horse appear lively. The second theory is that the word gin in this case is an abbreviation of the word engine. An earlier meaning of the word engine was to start or begin, though another meaning of the word engine is to contrive. No one know if either of these explanations is the correct one. Related phrases are gins something up, ginned something up, ginning something up.


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Examples

Trump joined Gianforte and Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines at the Copper Spring Ranch Arena on Saturday night for the last of a series of rallies this week to gin up support for the Republican congressional candidate. More than 700 attended the rally, according to the Gianforte campaign. (The Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

The talk of an open QB competition was all but certainly a Canada/Ed Orgeron production designed to gin up some healthy work ethic on the part of Etling and his supporting cast. (The Advocate)

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