Gin Up or Ginned Up – Idiom, Origin and Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Ever wondered what the heck the expression “gin up” means? You’re not alone; I’ve seen this question a time or two over the years. Is it a poker term? Is it British slang? I will answer all those questions and more in this quick little guide to the meaning and usage of the phrase gin up!

Is It Gin It Up or Gin Up?

Gin Up vs Gin it Up Ngram
Gin up and gin it up usage trend.

So, both “gin it up” and “gin up” can be used colloquially, but the more widely accepted form of the expression is simply “gin up.” The phrase is meant to serve as a verb and can stand on its own without the need to add the pronoun “it.”

Meaning of the Expression Gin Up

Gin Up or Ginned Up Idiom Origin Meaning

The verb phrase “gin up” means to stir up or generate some level of enthusiasm or support for something. You can also use it to imply manipulating or fabricating information to achieve a specific outcome.

Whether you use it to describe efforts to rally a team or to describe the cunning strategies of a politician, “gin up” is a fun expression that can add a bit of color to the situation.

As a published author, whenever I have a new book to release, I have to gin up readers and influencers to help share the book and, again, gin up some online chatter about it.

Gin Up Origin

So, there’s no definite root of this phrase, but there are lots of sources that claim to know the origin. One states that the word “gin” derives from the word “engine” and was used in the phrase “gin up” to basically mean “start up the engine” or “engine up.”

Another theory is that the term “gin” is short for ginger which was added to many different dishes as a means to “spice it up,” which, in the context of ginning it up, meant spicing things up or drumming up some flare.

Either way, all the ideas and theories revolve around the simple context of arousing some excitement over something.

Other Ways to Say Gin Up

  • Stir up
  • Whip up
  • Drum up
  • Work up
  • Rouse
  • Incite
  • Foment

Gin Up Examples in a Sentence

Gin Up or Ginned Up Idiom Origin Meaning 1

With oddball expressions like this, I like to present them in full sentences so you can get the bigger idea.

  • The marketing team at my publishing house worked tirelessly to gin up interest in my new book launch.
  • Karen tried to gin up support for her local playground proposal by emphasizing the potential benefits to kids and families.
  • My son’s soccer coach gave an impassioned speech to gin up the team’s morale before the big game today.
  • My kids are always trying to gin up the idea of going to Disney World.
  • We organized a huge social media campaign to gin up enthusiasm for our upcoming book signing event.

Gin It Up!

So, that’s a fairly comprehensive look at the meaning and origin of the spirited expression “gin up.” Sayings like this just keep adding more color to our language and broadening our vocabularies. So, keep learning, and keep growing! Check out some of my other helpful grammar guides!