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In Reservoir Dogs (1992), Eddie is describing a woman named Lady E to his gang members while driving in the car with them:

Eddie: Anyway, Lady Ε, I mean, she was a man-eater-upper. Un-f*cking-believable. Εvery guy who ever laid eyes on her had to jack off to her at least once.

I understand the meaning of “man-eater,” but I’m not sure what the “upper” part means.

What does man eater upper mean ?

1 Answer 1

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It's a conflation of two different phrases, man-eater and eat up.

To eat up means to consume all of something, it's often used by parents to encourage children to finish their vegetables. I.e. "If you don't eat up all of your veg, you don't get any dessert." The most common other time you'll encounter it is (usually women) using the phrase to describe cute children, "you're so cute I could just eat you up."

Changing it to "eater-upper" is merely turning that phrase into an adverb.

It takes the man-eater description to the next level, she doesn't just eat them, she eats them all.

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  • 5
    another "Tarantinoism"... :)
    – OldPadawan
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 5:43
  • 8
    Not an adverb, but an agent noun (phrase). This may be a Tarantinoism, but it has precedent in the common phrase “fixer-upper”, and no doubt there are others. It’s not unusual, in informal language, for phrasal verbs to be modified in this way: something that really should only apply to the verb, like the agent suffix “-er”, is applied to another part of the phrase as well (or instead). Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 15:26

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