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 issue came from a buildup of scar tissue trapping and squeezing the median nerve running from Henry’s neck to his fingers along his throwing arm causing it to misfire, his father Jeff Henry told | The Times-Picayune. Brody Miller,, "LSU freshman Cole Henry left super regional with nerve issue, expected to be ready by fall," 11 June 2019 The buildup of charge immediately before a nearby strike can cause power surges through the electrical grid. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "Here’s how lightning can knock out your power before it even strikes," 13 June 2018 The explosion of the soda cans was most likely caused by heat; a carbon-monoxide buildup would not cause such an explosion. New York Times, "Deadly Convenience: Keyless Cars and Their Carbon Monoxide Toll," 13 May 2018 The buildup and sudden release of friction from this movement can cause earthquakes. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Volcanoes are awe-inspiring. Here are 7 things to know about them.," 11 May 2018 This can happen with type 1 or type 2, because a buildup of glucose can cause an overgrowth of yeast. Barbara Brody, Woman's Day, "7 Signs You May Have Type 2 Diabetes," 29 June 2017 Furthermore, frequent opening and closing of the bottle can allow for bacteria buildup within the lotion, wreaking havoc on skin. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Does Sunscreen Expire? And Every Other Question You’ve Had About SPF, Answered," 14 May 2019 For the recyclable goods that end up in a landfill, the effect of this waste can generate the deadly pollutant methane, which with buildup can create a highly volatile, explosion risk and is considered to be one of the worst greenhouse gases. Teen Vogue, "Environmental Science Is Crucial to Combat Climate Change — So Why Isn't It a Mandatory Class?," 29 Apr. 2019 Setting the stage for last week’s inventory buildup was a sharp slowdown in U.S. refinery activity as plants partially closed for seasonal tuneups. Dan Molinski And Sarah Mcfarlane, WSJ, "Oil Climbs Despite Rising U.S. Crude Inventories," 13 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Silicon Valley giants have built up big user bases—over 1.5bn Facebook users are in developing countries. The Economist, "The second half of humanity is joining the internet," 8 June 2019 But all the while, the excitement was building up to the pinnacle of his day: The Spider-Man ride. Allison Klein, Washington Post, "An autistic boy had a meltdown at a theme park, and an employee’s simple, soothing act of solidarity went viral," 8 June 2019 As a result, manufacturers have built up complicated supply chains that straddle the border. Jill Colvin, Time, "Trump Sees Progress in Mexico Talks But 'Not Nearly Enough' to Halt Tariffs," 7 June 2019 Streamers build up rabid fanbases by spending hours online every day, interacting while participating in some low-key competition. Jacob Feldman,, "During Toronto's Run, Raptors' Voice Matt Devlin Has Represented an Entire Country," 6 June 2019 However, getting manicures, gel manicures, or intricate designs every so often can really build up and make a dent in your pocket (and bank account). Teen Vogue, "These 11 Gel Nail Polishes Will Save You A Trip To The Nail Salon," 29 May 2019 In the mean time, build up your own online presence through a simple website and professional social media channels. Jamie Ballard, Woman's Day, "How to Become a Virtual Assistant So You Can Work From Home," 7 May 2019 Conductor Seelig builds up to a grand-finale performance at a Baptist church, the same organization he was kicked out of and shunned from after first coming out. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Gay Chorus Deep South," 1 May 2019 There's so much build up and tension throughout the course of the book and the ending just did not live up to what came before it. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "'Daisy Jones & The Six' Surpassed #ReadWithMC Reviewers' Expectations," 1 May 2019

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

21 Jun 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

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


to take the place or position of

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