build·​up | \ ˈbild-ˌəp How to pronounce buildup (audio) \

Definition of buildup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something produced by building up fluid buildup in the lungs
2 : the act or process of building up

build up

built up; building up; builds up

Definition of build up (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to develop gradually by increments building up endurance built up a library
2 : to promote the health, strength, esteem, or reputation of

intransitive verb

: to accumulate or develop appreciably

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Other Words from buildup


builder-upper \ ˈbil-​dər-​ˈə-​pər How to pronounce builder-upper (audio) \ noun

Examples of buildup in a Sentence


There is a big traffic buildup on the highway. You should clean the mechanism regularly to prevent buildup of dirt. Both players were given big buildups before the game.


static electricity built up on the cat's fur the roller coaster built up momentum
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The new Italian leaders were anti-establishment chaos-agents who were dubious about the European Union, NATO’s buildup in Eastern Europe and sanctions on Moscow. Washington Post, "Putin to meet with the pope and Kremlin-friendly politicians in Rome," 2 July 2019 The Saudis are responding to Iran’s buildup of short-range missiles, which was the reason given by the US for pulling out of a global deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear program, though those missiles were not clearly forbidden. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, "The world is heading for a new missile arms race," 9 June 2019 The Hawkeye-as-Ronin theory has resurfaced in recent weeks thanks to the speculation over Renner’s absence from Infinity War’s promotional buildup. Aja Romano, Vox, "Where’s Hawkeye? The answer could be one of Infinity War’s biggest surprises.," 20 Apr. 2018 Kansas City Streetcar sent out an alert advising riders had suspended service because of ice buildup on the overhead wires. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, "Slick roads, reduced visibility possible in KC during Thursday’s evening commute," 11 Jan. 2018 Axes and shovels are on reserve to combat inevitable ice buildups. Hanna Krueger, NBC News, "Arctic tourism is potential threat to environment as ice melts," 11 Jan. 2018 Germany wanted a foul in the buildup but it wasn't given. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Sweden stuns Germany at Women's World Cup as Dutch reach maiden semifinal," 29 June 2019 The notorious mouthbar — a buildup of sand and sediment deposited in the San Jacinto River that could increase flooding — has become a very touchy subject for those who live near Lake Houston, especially in Kingwood. Kaila Contreras, Houston Chronicle, "FEMA, Army Corp will begin dredging Kingwood mouthbar in July," 28 June 2019 Testifying to the court, Semenya said she had been subjected to gender verification tests by South African track authorities in the buildup to the 2009 world championships without being told or understanding the nature of the tests. Gerald Imray,, "IAAF argued in court that Semenya is ‘biologically male’," 18 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The build up to a big match isn't quite the same without a 'spygate' headline. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "England vs. USA: English women chase World Cup history against 'the team everyone wants to beat'," 1 July 2019 Despite the bizarre ploy, Chile continued to dominate and Arturo Vidal had a second half effort that was similarly chalked off after VAR noticed a hand ball in the build up to the goal., "Copa America Roundup: Peru & Chile Prevail on Penalties as Colombia & Uruguay Bow Out," 30 June 2019 Vets say the vaccination builds up antibodies against the venom. Tom Stienstra,, "Rattlesnake season is here. Be prepared.," 28 June 2019 Apple often announces voluntary replacements for defective products, usually after customer complaints have built up (look at what’s happened with the keyboards on most of its modern laptops), but rarely mandatory recalls. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "Apple is recalling MacBook Pros that could catch on fire," 27 June 2019 It should be emphasized that for people with diabetes, however, ketones can build up and lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, a serious medical condition. Molly Kimball,, "The do’s and don’ts of the high-fat, low-carb keto diet: Best of Molly Kimball," 11 June 2019 Layers suggest depth: a build up of types of joy, supported by other varieties of joy, perhaps, beneath them. Jacob Bacharach, The New Republic, "David Brooks’s Moral Journey," 5 June 2019 Omayra talks quickly, as if trying to build up momentum that will carry her safely to the end of her story. Nathaniel Penn, Popular Mechanics, "The Day the Town Blew Up," 3 June 2019 The legislation includes modest incentives to try to build up the department’s work force, including loan repayment and recruitment and retention bonuses. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "Senate Sends Major Overhaul of Veterans Health Care to Trump," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'buildup.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of buildup


1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1555, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for buildup

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for buildup

The first known use of buildup was in 1555

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More Definitions for buildup



English Language Learners Definition of buildup

: an increase in something that occurs as time passes
: things that are said to cause people to feel excited about something (such as a future event) or someone (such as a performer)
: a series of things that lead to an important event or occurrence

More from Merriam-Webster on buildup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with buildup

Spanish Central: Translation of buildup

Comments on buildup

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characterized by aphorism

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