Stand Someone Up: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 29, 2023

The phrase "stand someone up" is commonly used in social contexts to describe a situation where one person fails to meet another as planned without explaining or notifying them. This term is often associated with a social or romantic context.

In short:

  • "Stand someone up" means to fail to meet someone as planned, especially for a date, without notifying them.

What Does "Stand Someone Up" Mean?

"Stand someone up" means not showing up for a planned meeting, especially a date, without informing the other person. This can leave the person who was expecting the meeting feeling disappointed, confused, or disrespected.

  • It typically implies a lack of communication or courtesy from the person who fails to show up.
  • The phrase is often used in the context of romantic or social dates but can be applied to other types of meetings.
  • Being stood up can be seen as disrespectful and hurtful, as it can be perceived as a sign of unreliability or lack of interest.

Where Does "Stand Someone Up" Come From?

The phrase "stand someone up" has its roots in the social customs of the past. When arranged meetings were a cornerstone of social interaction, not showing up was a significant breach of etiquette. Over time, the phrase has evolved to carry a sense of personal betrayal.

Historical Usage

While the exact origin of "stand someone up" is unclear, it's believed to have become popular in American English in the early 20th century. It was a time when dating customs were becoming more informal, and standing someone up would have been a clear signal of disinterest or disrespect.

"He promised to take me to the dance, and he never came. He completely stood me up," was a line reportedly found in a 1922 edition of a local newspaper, illustrating the use of the idiom in everyday language.

This idiom has since been used in countless books, movies, and songs, reflecting its solid standing in English vernacular.

10 Examples of "Stand Someone Up" in Sentences

Understanding how to use "stand someone up" in conversation can be easier with examples.

Here are ten different ways this idiom might appear in sentences:

  • I can't believe he would stand someone up on their birthday; all in all that's just cruel.
  • She waited for over an hour before she realized she had been stood up.
  • If you're not going to make it, at least call so you don't stand someone up.
  • He's got a bad reputation for standing people up; I wouldn't count on him.
  • They were supposed to have lunch together, but it looks like she stood him up.
  • I feel you, getting stood up isn't a nice experience; it can really hurt someone's feelings.
  • My parents first met when my mom stood up my dad as a prank; luckily, he found it funny.
  • During high school, I stood someone up for a date, and I still feel bad about it.
  • It's the third time he's stood her up; I doubt she'll agree to another date.
  • When you stand someone up, you're not just wasting their time; you're also damaging their trust.

Examples of "Stand Someone Up" in Pop Culture

The phrase "stand someone up" is quite common in pop culture, often used to convey the action of not showing up to a date or meeting without explanation,

Here are a few examples:

  • In The Age of Adaline, a young woman born at the turn of the 20th century is rendered ageless after an accident. She keeps standing up her love interests when things become too serious and when her secret might be revealed.
  • The song "Stood Up" by Ricky Nelson deals with the concept of being stood up by someone you love.
  • "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" (2002) - A French film that twists the narrative of a romantic obsession, showcasing the dangers of unrequited love and the concept of being "stood up" in a more sinister light.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Stand Someone Up"

Sometimes, you might want to express the concept of "standing someone up" without using the exact phrase.

Here are some synonyms and related expressions:

  • Leave someone hanging - this implies leaving someone waiting for your presence or response.
  • Blow off - a more casual term that suggests ignoring someone or their plans without notice.
  • Bail on someone - often used to indicate leaving someone without support or company, especially at the last minute.
  • Stood up - similar to "stand someone up."
  • No-show - used when someone doesn't appear at an event or meeting they were expected to attend.
  • Skip out on - implies leaving or not attending something on purpose, often without telling anyone.
  • Give someone the slip - means to evade or escape someone, often by not showing up to a planned meeting.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Stand Someone Up"

  • What does it mean to "stand someone up"?

It refers to the act of failing to meet someone as planned, especially for a date, without notifying them.

  • Where did the idiom "stand someone up" originate?

The exact origin is unclear, but it became popular in American English in the early 20th century.

  • Is "stand someone up" used in formal situations?

It's typically used in informal contexts and may not be appropriate for formal situations.

  • Can "stand someone up" be used in professional settings?

While it can be used to describe no-shows in professional settings, more formal language is generally preferred.

  • How does being "stood up" affect relationships?

It can lead to feelings of disappointment and mistrust, potentially damaging the relationship.

  • Are there any synonyms for "stand someone up"?

Yes, phrases like "leave someone hanging," "blow off," and "bail on someone" convey similar meanings.

  • Is it common to "stand someone up" intentionally?

While it can happen intentionally, sometimes people "stand someone up" due to unforeseen circumstances.

  • How should you react if you've been "stood up"?

It's important to communicate with the person to understand the reason and express how it made you feel.

  • What should you do if you accidentally "stand someone up"?

Apologize sincerely and explain the situation; honesty is key to mending the oversight.

  • Does "stand someone up" always imply a romantic context?

No, it can be used for any planned meeting, though it is often associated with dating.

Final Thoughts About "Stand Someone Up"

The phrase "stand someone up" carries more weight than simply not showing up for an appointment. It's about the emotional impact and the social implications that come with it. Here's a quick recap of what we've covered:

  • The idiom means failing to meet someone as planned, especially for a date, without notifying them.
  • It often implies a breach of social etiquette and can lead to feelings of disappointment and mistrust.
  • While the phrase is commonly used in the context of dating, it can apply to any missed meeting.
  • There are several synonyms for the phrase, such as "leave someone hanging" or "blow off."

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