This particular phrase irritates me; I don't know why. But here's how it is used these days. Let's say I'm at a conference, and the speaker or panel is wrapping up. Then the moderator comes out and asks you to
"Give it up for--today's speaker, Suzie Q." Of course, that speaker deserves a round of applause. But where did that phrase come from? And why does it mean, "Let's clap for" or "Let's give a round of applause for" the speaker?
The first time I heard the phrase was at an innovation conference in 2006 I think. The speaker had just wrapped up his presentation. Then a colleague of mine, an academic, came bounding out on stage to thank the speaker. He loudly announced, "Give it up for our great speaker." At first I wondered, "Give what up for the speaker?" But then when everyone started clapping, I understood. And joined in. But I was still puzzled. The phrase did not seem connected to what was being asked of the audience. So like any good etymologist, I researched the origin of the phrase. It was hard. In fact, I sort of came up empty until I ran across one explanation that seemed strangely feasible to me. I'll share it with you.
Good writing skills are a cornerstone of success in the academic world, and they are also a major plus in later life.