“Run-up”

Noun. A relatively brief period of time leading up to a particular event. Synonym of lead-up. A Google Ngram shows a spike between 2003 and 2005, supporting my impression that wide use began in reference to the months before U.S. invasion of Iraq, a period in which the imminent military action was obvious to everyone in the country. (Usage also sharply increased in 2007 and 2008, which I attribute to the popularity of not one-off Britishisms.) Also, particularly in journalism, an increase, as in a run-up in gas prices; used as an alternative to hike, spike, and other elegant variations. “To nervous allies, those words echo the run-up to the Iraq invasion, which began three years ago today. But Iran is not Iraq. (New York Times, March 19, 2006)/“The Packers’ report is more than a novelty in the run-up to their playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl on Feb. 6.” (Richard Sandomir, New York Times, January 27, 2011.)

2 responses to ““Run-up”

  1. Possibly from foreign news reports? If not broadcast directly in the US then from those monitoring such reports.

  2. I hear this phrase used in the UK, but if you had not suggested otherwise, I would have guessed it was a migrant from the US, not vice versa.

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