Up and at’em – Meaning, Origin & Example Sentences

English is filled with fun expressions that you might want to learn to use.

“Up and at’em” is a good example of a phrase that just flows perfectly. It sounds really nice, but what does it mean?

How can you use it?

This article will answer these questions.

Up and at’em – Meaning

“Up and at’em” is a phrase exclaimed in order to get a group of people to attack another. When someone uses this phrase, they’re giving a command. The saying can be thought of as a contraction of “Get up and get at them!”. It’s a command for people to attack.

Up and at em meaning

If someone uses “up and at’em”, it means that they have some sort of authority. After all, they’re able to issue an order that people listen to. It’s an expression that indicates leadership.

Here are some examples that will show you how to use “up and at’em” in a sentence:

  • Alright that’s enough chit-chatting, up and at’em, boys!
  • Up and at’em, we don’t have all night to finish this brawl!
  • Up and at them, folks, we’ve really gotta gain some ground here.
  • Up and Adam, we really need to defeat these guys or we’ll lose everything!

Up and at’em – Origin

“Up and at’em” is a phrase thought to come from the military.

This expression is thought to have a military origin because it’s very clearly phrased as a military command. It’s difficult to verify who said this expression first, but we know that it’s from the military.

One possible origin for “Up and at’em” places the phrase at the battle of Waterloo. It’s thought that Wellington said “Up, guards, and at’em!”. However, it’s impossible to verify whether this was the actual origin.

Up and at’em – Synonyms

“Up and at’em” is a phrase used mainly to get people to attack something. However, it’s not the only phrase in the English language that can accomplish this goal. There are plenty of other phrases that can convey this exact same feeling.

Here are some synonym phrases:

  • Have at them!
  • Get them!
  • After them!
  • Don’t let them get away!

Phrases That Mean the Opposite of “Up and at’em”

If “up and at’em” is a phrase that conveys a military attack, then reasonably there must be an opposite phrase. In fact, there are several opposite phrases.

Here we’ll showcase some opposite phrases for “up and at’em”:

  • Fall back, everyone!
  • Retreat!
  • Time to leave!
  • Don’t let them catch you!

Correct Ways to Say “Up and at’em”

“Up and at’em” is an expression that has been in use for decades, if not centuries. Because of this, there are plenty of alternate spellings of the phrase. These alternatives are all still correct.

Here are some variations of “up and at’em”:

  • Up and at them
  • Get up and get at them
  • Get up and at’em
  • Up and get at them

Incorrect Ways to Use “Up and at’em”

There are incorrect ways in which people use “up and at’em”.

The principal way would be when people use this phrase to convey a defensive position. “Up and at’em” is an expression that only should be used when talking about an offensive, about an attack.

Using this phrase to refer to a defensive position is completely incorrect. You should avoid doing this, as it will confuse people on who’s attacking and who’s defending.

In What Situations Can You Use “Up and at’em”?

You can use “up and at’em” in a surprising variety of situations.

Mainly, if you are commanding a group of people and want to get them to attack, you can use this phrase. This can be in a military situation, but it can also go beyond that.

If you’re in a sports team, for example, it’d be appropriate to use this expression. Same thing applies to any sort of competition where you have teams.