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  1. #1
    cubezero3's Avatar
    cubezero3 is offline Member
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    Difference between hunt out and hunt up

    hunt sth out - search for sth (esp an object that has been put away or is no longer in use) until it is found

    hunt sth up - search for sth (esp sth hidden and difficult to find)
    I don't think people always know whether what they are looking for has been put away or hidden. The difference does exist, as shown in the definitions given in the OED. Despite that, I guess people would practically treat them as equal. Am I right?

    Many thanks

    Richard

  2. #2
    azcl is offline Member
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    Re: Difference between hunt out and hunt up

    ***Not a teacher***

    "Hunt something out" - carries a sense of looking for something amongst other things (literal or figurative).

    "Hunt something down" - carries more of a sense of persevering in ones pursuit of something - a determined finding something often despite opposition or initial lack of success.

    "Hunt something up" is not an expression I have ever heard used (in BrE). However, I did find it on dictionary.com with the following definition:

    "World English Dictionary
    hunt up vb 1. ( tr ) to search for, esp successfully: I couldn't hunt up a copy of it anywhere 2. ( intr ) (of a bell) to be rung progressively earlier during a set of changes



    Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
    2009 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 HarperCollins
    Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 "

    So in answer to your question, it does indeed appear that 'hunt out' and 'hunt up' have very similar meanings.

    Ade

  3. #3
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: Difference between hunt out and hunt up

    I agree with azcl.

    I would say 'hunt up' and 'hunt out' are very rarely used. The first dictionary sentence quoted sounds unnatural to me and the second is clearly a specialised usage of the phrase.

    'Hunt down' is more common, I think, in relation to fugitives or prey.

    Rover
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 31-Jan-2011 at 23:51.

  4. #4
    JTRiff is offline Member
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    Re: Difference between hunt out and hunt up

    Hunt up is acceptable here, as well as the other definitions given.
    Hunt up an old girlfriend, hunt up a decent meal - but it's somewhat casual usage-wise.

  5. #5
    Vidor is offline Member
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    not a teacher

    "hunt out"--probably archaic

    "hunt up"--to look for something that is hidden or difficult to find

    "hunt down"--has the same meaning as "hunt up", basically, but also carries the connotation of pursuing someone who is fleeing from you, like a criminal who is trying to escape

  6. #6
    riquecohen's Avatar
    riquecohen is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Difference between hunt out and hunt up

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    I agree with azcl.

    I would say 'hunt up' and 'hunt out' are very rarely used. The first dictionary sentence quoted sounds unnatural to me and the second is clearly a specialised usage of the phrase.

    'Hunt down' is more common, I think, in relation to fugitives or prey.

    Rover
    I would say the same for AmE, but with a somewhat wider use of "hunt down."
    I'm trying to hunt down a first edition of 'Bleak House.'"

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