build·​up | \ˈbild-ˌəp \

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


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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from buildup


builder-upper \ ˈbil-​dər-​ˈə-​pər \ 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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

England completed 25 passes in the buildup, the most in any World Cup match since 1966, according to Opta. Rob Harris,, "England advances to knockout stage with emphatic win over Panama," 24 June 2018 In the buildup to Panama, England will be reminded of its elimination at the hands of tiny Iceland at the European Championship two years ago. Ben Nuckols,, "England face Panama with shot to secure qualification to Round of 16," 23 June 2018 The players were forced to scramble for boots in the buildup to the biggest tournament of their lives. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Iran’s World Cup Obstacles: Spain, Portugal and the White House," 19 June 2018 In the buildup to the Civil War, even non-slave-owning white Christians used the verse to justify their support of the Civil War and slavery. Michael Harriot, The Root, "A Brief History of People Using Romans 13 to Justify White Supremacy," 15 June 2018 Hierro’s familiarity with the squad, and the fact he has been involved in the buildup to the tournament, worked in his favor. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Spain Fires Coach Julen Lopetegui on Eve of World Cup," 13 June 2018 This lysosomal storage disorder is an autosomal recessive genetic disease that interferes with the body’s production of a single enzyme, arylsulfatase A. Not enough arylsulfatase A causes a buildup of fats called sulfatides inside cells. Vibhav Rangarajan, STAT, "The ‘cruel joke’ of compassionate use and right to try: Pharma companies don’t have to comply," 5 June 2018 Allen told Click2Houston that Kahloon started to argue with Cameron Carson, one of his co-workers, in the buildup to the shooting. Josh Magness, star-telegram, "Men argued over a single Slim Jim — so the store owner opened fire, Texas police say | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 11 Apr. 2018 One of the big questions in the buildup to Nike’s Breaking2 marathon last year was the pacing strategy. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, "What's the Best Way to Pace a Marathon?," 4 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After building up enough speed, the particles crash into each other, releasing huge amounts of energy and breaking into new, more exotic particles. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Large Hadron Collider Accelerates Whole Atoms for the First Time," 30 July 2018 Fires are key to keeping ecosystems in the West healthy and preventing fuel from building up to dangerous levels. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Humans are making wildfires worse, but here’s what we can do about it," 17 July 2018 Trading up isn’t always an option so some have turned to building up. Ray Boyd,, "Children separated at border held in Pa., Malcolm Jenkins responds to Trump's pardon request | Morning Newsletter," 22 June 2018 Jones-Kelley highlighted Columbus, Ohio, which has focused on building out its retail and commerce industries, as well as Salt Lake City and the state of Utah, which have done an exceptional job of building up a homegrown tech industry. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How subway ads asking millennials to move helps economic development," 18 June 2018 After seven years of grinding conflict, Iran and proxy forces including Hezbollah have built up a formidable presence along Syria's borders with Israel and Lebanon. Henry Meyer,, "Putin is preparing a deal Trump can tout after summit," 6 July 2018 Ettel has built up a virtual wall around her social media life. Cleve R. Wootson Jr.,, "Woman threatens to call police on 8-year-old selling water for trip to Disneyland," 24 June 2018 Workers have built up a berm between the lava plumes and some of the homes nestled in Leilani Estates. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Homeowner watches in awe as lava from Hawaii volcano flows ever closer to his home," 24 May 2018 In response, a whole industry has built up to help occlude and conceal hacking tools. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Inside the Takedown of a Notorious Malware Clearinghouse," 16 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.

See More

First Known Use of buildup


1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1555, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about buildup

Statistics for buildup

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for buildup

The first known use of buildup was in 1555

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

See words that rhyme with buildup

Spanish Central: Translation of buildup

Comments on buildup

What made you want to look up buildup? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!