• starting from the beginning or basics
      To begin a process or project from the very beginning, without any pre-existing foundation or structure in place

    • thorough or complete
      To do something in a thorough or comprehensive manner, leaving no detail or aspect overlooked

Examples of From the ground up

  • We're starting this project from the ground up, meaning we're going to build it completely from scratch.

    The idiom "from the ground up" is used to describe starting something completely new and building it from the very beginning. It implies that no foundation or structure already exists, and everything needs to be created from the ground (or bottom) up. This phrase can be used in various contexts, such as building a new company, creating a new product, or constructing a new building.


The idiom "from the ground up" has two main meanings. The first is to start something from the very beginning or basics, without any pre-existing foundation or structure in place. This can refer to starting a project, building, or even a concept or idea. The second meaning is to do something thoroughly or completely, leaving no detail or aspect overlooked. This could be used to describe a task, project, or even a personal journey or growth.

In both cases, the idiom conveys the idea of beginning at the most basic or fundamental level and building or creating something from there. It emphasizes the importance of starting from the ground level and not skipping any steps or details along the way.

Origin of "From the ground up"

The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the construction industry. When building a structure, it is necessary to start from the foundation, or "ground up," before adding any walls, floors, or roofs. This concept of starting from the very bottom and working your way up has been applied to other areas as well, leading to the idiomatic usage of "from the ground up."

There is also a more literal origin of this idiom, as it was commonly used in the 19th century to describe the process of rebuilding or renovating a structure from the ground level. This was often used in the context of rebuilding after a fire or other disaster, emphasizing the idea of starting anew and building from the very beginning. Over time, the idiom has evolved to encompass a broader range of meanings beyond just construction and rebuilding.