down to


down to
down to, up to
1. When referring to people and their actions, down to suggests obligation or responsibility whereas up to suggests opportunity. If you say It is up to them you imply that they have a choice about how to act, whereas if you say It is down to them you imply that they are responsible for acting or having acted in some way. Examples:

• The boom in Gucci and Pucci and…Lacoste ‘names’ on clothes, bags and other ornamentation is all down to the Yuppies —Sunday Telegraph, 1985

• Poor ethos in a school may be down to one person, good ethos is down to everyone —Times Educational Supplement, 1999.

The origin of this use is possibly connected with the phrase come (or be put) down to, which has a similar meaning:

• My remarks…should be put down to my own lack of sympathy with the scientistic vision which Thomas upholds —Times Literary Supplement, 1980

• One of the biggest fears is not being believed. It nearly always comes down to one person's word against another's —Sunday Mercury, 1998.

2. Down to and up to are used interchangeably in the meaning ‘until’ (up to the 19th century or down to the 19th century), except that the viewpoint is slightly different, up to being essentially forward-looking and down to retrospective.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Down — Down, adv. [For older adown, AS. ad[=u]n, ad[=u]ne, prop., from or off the hill. See 3d {Down}, and cf. {Adown}, and cf. {Adown}.] 1. In the direction of gravity or toward the center of the earth; toward or in a lower place or position; below;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Down on — Down Down, adv. [For older adown, AS. ad[=u]n, ad[=u]ne, prop., from or off the hill. See 3d {Down}, and cf. {Adown}, and cf. {Adown}.] 1. In the direction of gravity or toward the center of the earth; toward or in a lower place or position;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Down — may refer to: Relative direction, where down is the direction towards the centre of gravity of a celestial object. Railroad directions, where down and up have locally significant meanings Down feather, a soft bird feather frequently used in… …   Wikipedia

  • down — down1 [doun] adv. [ME doun < adune, adown < OE adune, ofdune, from the hill < a , of , off, from + dune, dat. of dun, hill: see DOWN3] 1. from a higher to a lower place; toward the ground 2. in, on, or to a lower position or level;… …   English World dictionary

  • Down in It — Single by Nine Inch Nails from the album Pretty Hate Machine Released …   Wikipedia

  • Down — /down/, n. 1. a county in SW Northern Ireland. 311,876; 952 sq. mi. (2466 sq. km). Co. seat: Downpatrick. 2. an administrative district in this county. 49,500; 253 sq. mi. (654 sq. km). * * * I District (pop., 1999 est.: 63,800), Northern Ireland …   Universalium

  • Down In It — Single par Nine Inch Nails extrait de l’album Pretty Hate Machine Sortie 15 septembre 1989 Enregistrement 1989 Durée 17:45 Genre(s) Metal industriel …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Down in it — Single par Nine Inch Nails extrait de l’album Pretty Hate Machine Sortie 15 septembre 1989 Enregistrement 1989 Durée 17:45 Genre(s) Metal industriel …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Down in It — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «Down in It» Sencillo de Nine Inch Nails del álbum Pretty Hate Machine Publicación 15 de septiembre de 1989 Formato CD, 12 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Down in It — Single par Nine Inch Nails extrait de l’album Pretty Hate Machine Sortie 15 septembre 1989 Enregistrement 1989 Durée 17:45 Genre Metal industriel …   Wikipédia en Français

  • down — Ⅰ. down [1] ► ADVERB 1) towards or in a lower place or position. 2) to or at a lower level or value. 3) so as to lie flush or flat. 4) in or into a weaker or worse position, mood, or condition. 5) to a smaller amount or size, or a simpler or more …   English terms dictionary


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