Okay, Imprecator, riddle me this. When using a dictionary, we usually look straight ahead or somewhat downward at an acute angle, so why do we "look up" a word? We may look "up and down" the page, but this phrase places even emphasis on both "up" and "down," so why is "up" the one that stuck? Simple clipping perhaps? A few even stranger ones: clean up mess up break up write up What the heck is "up" doing in any one of these? It adds nothing semantically to what the root verb already expresses.