What Does All Spruced Up Mean?

All Spruced Up Meaning

Definition: Dressed up, cleaned up.

This expression is often used to describe how someone looks when they are wearing fancy clothes and looking very nice, or how something appears after it has been fixed up or cleaned up.

Origin of All Spruced Up

Many people think this idiom relates to the spruce tree. However, the word spruce comes from Middle English and developed from the now obsolete word pruce, which meant Prussia.

meaning of all spruced upIt is widely thought that all spruced up developed its meaning from the high quality of leather and other goods from Prussia that were imported and used by early English speakers.

Prussia had a reputation for being very neat and organized. One of its more popular exports was a leather jacket, called a spruce jerkin. This fashionable item was most likely the reason spruce lost its original meaning of Prussia and gained its modern meaning of clean and fashionable.

Examples of All Spruced Up

all spruced up originIn this dialogue, the expression refers to people who are dressed in very elegant or fancy clothing.

Maria: Hey! Look at you, all spruced up! Do you have a big date tonight?

Franco: Actually, I do! We’re going to the opera.

All spruced up is used an adjective phrase, but it can also be found in its verb form spruce up.

Ross: We’re going out tonight! Why don’t you go spruce up.

Sarah: But I don’t have anything nice to wear.

Occasionally this idiom can be used to describe the appearance of inanimate objects, like in this example.

Real estate agent: I think you’ll really like this house.

Client: Hmm. I’m not sure. It looks a little old and worn out.

Real estate agent: Oh no, not at all. With just a little sprucing up, this house could be perfect for a young couple! It just needs some fresh paint and a good cleaning!

More Examples

  • With that cash, Jimmy gets all spruced up. He buys a brand new suit, whiter teeth, a better dye job and puts up a billboard advertising his legal services for all to see — and more specifically, Howard Hamlin, his arch nemesis at Hamlin, Hamlin & McGill, the firm that, as of right now, is handling the Kettleman case. –Washington Post
  • “I remember the first time I actually went to the facility, and I’m looking around and I’m thinking, ‘Boy, am I back in the 1940s or what?’ I mean, even the office, it isn’t all spruced up,” says Bruce Smith, the head of the union representing the pottery workers. “It’s the old look, and they’re focused on making product and not being flashy.” –NPR

Summary

The phrase all spruced up is an old expression that can mean cleaned up, refurbished, or dressed nicely. It is often used as a compliment to tell someone that they look very nice.