Keyed up

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Keyed up is an idiom that has been in use for over a hundred years. We will examine the meaning of the idiom keyed up, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Keyed up is an idiom that means feeling nervous, a state of excitement, a state of anxiety. If someone is all keyed up, he is anxious or nervous, usually in anticipation of something. The expression keyed up first came into use in the 1880s and is derived from the field of music. To key up something means to tune an instrument to a particular key.


Newly Minted was also a bit keyed up in the gate and was unable to make the lead as trainer Linda Rice had hoped. (The Daily Racing Form)

The reigning champs looked like they may have been a little too keyed up at the start of Tuesday’s big game. (The Union-Recorder)

“Then I looked up and saw a big hole in the roof, but I was so keyed up I couldn’t figure out what had happened,” a neighbor said. (Reuters)