From the Ground Up

Meaning of Idiom ‘From the Ground Up’

From the ground up means from the very beginning, starting with nothing; completely; thoroughly. 1Bengelsdorf, Peter. Idioms in the News – 1,000 Phrases, Real Examples. N.p.: Amz Digital Services, 2012.,2Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary]. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.,3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Examples Of Use

“I built this business from the ground up,” said Mr. Garrison. “I’m not going to let you run me out of it.”

“He built a million dollar business from the ground up when he was only 25 years old.”

“I have to learn a new software system at work from the ground up and I only have two days to do it.”

“They’ve changed the system from the ground up and now you have to fill out lots of forms to requisition new parts.”


Used since the 1800s, this idiom alludes to the the construction of a house or other building, which begins on the ground with the foundation and proceeds upward.

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