A used object, especially an article of clothing, passed from a younger person to an older person. adj. v.
Until knock-off time at 5 pm from his Little India den, he maintains contact with the 'outside' world via an old, 'hand-me-up' Nokia mobile phone left behind by his son, and the occasional news buzz on the Iraqi crisis crackling through his radio.
Tan Shzr Ee, "A nobody whom everybody knows," The Straits Times (Singapore), March 16, 2003
Younger kids know the pain of hand-me-downs, the clothes they inherit from bigger siblings. Sleeves hang below the wrists, pants slide around the hips and style seems like the magazine selection in a waiting room outdated.
But some families put a twist on the trend. Instead of hand-me-downs, they share hand-me-ups. Older offspring who tire of wearing the same old threads pass garments to their parents, who might not be as picky about fit or fashion.
Pat Sirek's "consumer-society kids," two grown daughters and a son, don't believe in wearing hand-me-downs.
"I, on the other hand, care about saving a buck," said Sirek, 47, of West St. Paul, Minn. "If it's still good and it fits me, I take it."
Michele M. Melendez, "Frugal families 'hand-me-up' when size is right," The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), September 15, 2002
Mrs. Aurora Aquino, 76, dressed in a bright yellow shirt that she said was a "hand-me-up" from her daughterand sporting a small pin with her murdered son's picture on itfanned herself in the heat and said she had no regrets about returning to the same place where he was shot.
Janet Cawley, "Filipino freedom flight brings home exiles who fled Marcos," Chicago Tribune, March 20, 1986
In the world of used but still useful items a hand-me-up is the directional opposite of a hand-me-down (a phrase the Oxford English Dictionary dates all the way back to an 1874 book of slang).