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UP or DOWN?
Are you "up for it" or "down for it"? And is there even a difference?
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2013/12/16
7:48am
alexhkelly
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1) First of all, what is the term for this?

2) Does it fall somewhere under the umbrella of contronyms/auto-antonyms, or is it something entirely different?

3) Is one way more correct than the other?

2013/12/16
7:57pm
Ron Draney
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I’m not in a position to answer your questions, but I’ll mention that while someone else made the observation that fat chance and slim chance both mean the same thing, George Carlin pointed out that what’s coming off? is identical to what’s going on?, and what’s coming up? to what’s going down?

2013/12/18
12:01pm
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Another favorite Carlinism of mine was his comment about flight attendants instructing him to “get on the plane” to which he’d reply “Fuck you! Let the daredevils get ON the plane … I’m getting IN the plane.”

Responding to alexkelly’s original question, I sense a slight difference in meaning. “Are you up for it?” would imply “Are you available or interested?” and “Are you down for it?” would imply “Have you already signed up or RSVPed or however committed?”

But like Ron, I’m not sure there’s a specific term that applies to this apparently contradictory use of “down” and “up.” There’s so many examples of words being turned around like this (for example, “bad” meaning “good”) that it seems there should be a term for it. However, this might just be another example of language evolving as dictated by common use.

 

2013/12/18
1:35pm
Bob Bridges
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I can understand how “are you down for this?” would sound to some people like “have you signed up for it?” (ie “is your name down on the list for it?”).  But when I hear it, I think of ’60s and ’70s hippie-speak (or maybe it was a little after the hippies) meaning “are you willing to do this?”, “can you commit to this?” or even “will you follow through on this?”—in other words very close to “are you up for this?”.

2013/12/18
6:09pm
tromboniator
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I have not heard “down for it”; rather “down with it.” I don’t believe it was in use back in my hippie days. I think it’s more connected to the rap/hip-hop era.

I don’t know if there’s a term for these seeming opposites.

This reminds me, and I may have asked before, please forgive me, but my wife, among others, tends to say “I’m fine with that” where I would say “That’s fine with me.” I think the former is part of the same package as “down with it,” something my wife picked up from the kids while working as a school secretary. Anybody know more than I do about when or where this change may have come about?

Apologies if this constitutes a hijacking.

2013/12/18
6:47pm
Bob Bridges
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Oh, “down with that” … yeah, maybe that’s what I heard back in the ’70s.  If so, then I probably took the later “down for that” to be a variant of “down with that” and then forgot the difference.

I’m a northern transplant to NC, and my impression is that I first heard “I’m fine with that” here in the South.  I agree, I equate it to “that’s fine with me”.  If there’s a difference in connotation, “That’s fine with me” means I have no objection and “I’m fine with that” means I have no resentment against it either.  But really they’re about the same.

2013/12/18
8:53pm
deaconB
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Bob Bridges said 

If there’s a difference in connotation, “That’s fine with me” means I have no objection and “I’m fine with that” means I have no resentment against it either.  But really they’re about the same.

I’m jake with that!

2013/12/18
11:50pm
RobertB
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Good for No:

Want a drink?

I’m good. 

 

alexhkelly, more up down over Here.

2013/12/19
12:19am
Bob Bridges
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Hm, I never thought of that.  But it reminds me that in the US if we ask that and he says “thank you” he means “yes, thank you”; in the UK “thank you” means “no, thank you”.  Or so I’m told.  Of course body language can modify that, but that’s the default.

2013/12/19
7:28am
Dick
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Bob Bridges said
Hm, I never thought of that.  But it reminds me that in the US if we ask that and he says “thank you” he means “yes, thank you”; in the UK “thank you” means “no, thank you”.  Or so I’m told.  Of course body language can modify that, but that’s the default.

I never knew about the national difference.  I have heard it used both ways in the U.S. with, as you say, body language and tone making the difference.

 

2013/12/24
1:39am
Robert
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Uber-Australian Sloth, Uber-Norwegian Bear, and Stephen Hawking discuss Cosmology on long distance phones.

UA Sloth- Us think the earth sits on the back of a giant turtle.
UN Bear- O ya? Then what does the giant turtle sit on?
UA Sloth- Easy, mate, it’s just turtles all the way up.
UN Bear- Ya ya… makes sense, ‘cept it’s got to be all the way DOWN.
UA Sloth- Sorry, mate, the way us see it, all the way up.
Hawking- Now  now  friends  Don’t  you  know  the  earth  is  round   No   tur   tles.
UA Sloth- That so? What does it sit on then?
UN Bear- Ya? There’ve got to be something ya?
Hawking- No   tur    tles     just   At   las   ses     all   the   way.

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