make·​up | \ ˈmāk-ˌəp How to pronounce makeup (audio) \

Definition of makeup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the way in which the parts or ingredients of something are put together : composition the ethnic makeup of the neighborhood
b : physical, mental, and moral constitution His daring attitude toward risks is a major part of his makeup.
2a : the operation of making up especially pages for printing
b : design or layout of printed matter
3a(1) : cosmetics (such as lipstick, mascara, and eye shadow) used to color and beautify the face
(2) : a cosmetic applied to other parts of the body leg makeup for a tanned appearance
b : materials (such as wigs and cosmetics) used in making up or in special costuming (as for a play)
4 : replacement specifically : material added (as in a manufacturing process) to replace material that has been used up makeup water
5 : something that makes up for a previous postponement, omission, failure, or deficiency a makeup exam

make up

made up; making up; makes up

Definition of make up (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to form by fitting together or assembling make up a train of cars
b : to arrange typeset matter in (columns or pages) for printing
2a : to combine to produce (a sum or whole)
b : constitute, compose 10 chapters make up this volume
3a : to compensate for (something, such as a deficiency or omission) make up the difference in lost pay
b : to do or take in order to correct an omission make up a history exam
4 : settle, decide made up my mind to depart
5 : to wrap or fasten up make the books up into a parcel
6a : to prepare in physical appearance for a role
b : to apply cosmetics to
7a : invent, improvise make up a story
b : to set in order rooms are made up daily

intransitive verb

1 : to become reconciled quarreled but later made up
2a : to act ingratiatingly and flatteringly made up to his aunt for a new bicycle
b : to make advances : court
3 : compensate make up for lost time
4a : to put on costumes or makeup (as for a play)
b : to apply cosmetics

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for makeup

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of makeup in a Sentence

Noun His daring attitude toward risks is a major part of his makeup. She put on some makeup before the party. She applied her makeup lightly. She's too young to wear makeup. put on makeup for a play I didn't recognize him when he was in his theatrical makeup. Verb the book is made up of 20 chapters she keeps making up excuses as to why she hasn't yet finished the project
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The rapper told the podcast's hosts, model Nazanin Mandi and makeup artist Nadia Moham, that his accompanying Deyjah to the doctor began after her 16th birthday. NBC News, "Jeannie Mai of 'The Real' slammed for backing T.I.'s taking daughter for hymen checks," 8 Nov. 2019 Briceno, a 30-year-old makeup artist, said little would keep her from the stadium. Fox News, "Crisis throws curve ball at opening of Venezuelan baseball," 7 Nov. 2019 Madrid, who is a hair and makeup artist by day, is still trying to break into TV writing and says Tafel has been instrumental. Carmel Carrillo,, "Behind the 'BoJack Horseman’ Chicago episode: Second City alum talks about her path to Netflix’s absurd comedy," 29 Oct. 2019 Baket, a makeup artist living in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, came to Khorgos for a two-day shopping trip. Youyou Zhou, Quartz, "The buyers and sellers of Khorgos, a special trade zone on the Kazakhstan-China border," 26 Oct. 2019 Over the weekend, the makeup artist hosted a meet & greet with some of his friends in California in honor of the launch of his new mini palette. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "James Charles Just Threw Major Shade at the Dobre Brothers During His Recent Meet & Greet," 21 Oct. 2019 COLLECTIONS Justin Bieber showed some love for the natural beauty of his wife, Hailey Baldwin, by sharing a makeup-free photo of her on Sept. 5. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Justin Bieber Claps Back at Fan Who Says He's a Little Too Public With His Love for His Wife," 14 Oct. 2019 Wu kept close watch in the mirror as the makeup artist, a woman with wrist tattoos named Jordann, worked on her face. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Constance Wu’s Hollywood Destiny," 16 Sep. 2019 Kelly, 45, was the official makeup artist for the Republican National Conference held in Cleveland in 2016., "According to professional photographers, energy-saving light bulbs are probably not to blame.," 14 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Usually the cadence is kind of a little bit made up on the spot. Chris Varias,, "From living out of his car to rapping about peach scones ... Meet Hobo Johnson," 11 Nov. 2019 The increasingly erratic annual monsoon rains are often unable to make up for this depletion. Shivam Vij, Quartz India, "India’s Green Revolution, which once staved off famines, is now threatening lives," 7 Nov. 2019 Despite a decade of economic growth in the United States, including record low unemployment and higher wages for black workers, millennials of color make up only a small portion of the overall market for real estate, data show. Real Estate, "For many black millennials, student debt is the biggest hurdle to homeownership," 5 Nov. 2019 Apocalyptic predictions of the industry’s demise will likely return as New York officials debate whether to get rid of the tip credit, which allows employers to make up part of their minimum wage obligations in tips. Nicole Hallett, Quartz at Work, "Raising the minimum wage in restaurants is good news for everyone," 4 Nov. 2019 The sphere, for example, is made up of circles, points and planes. Quanta Magazine, "Mathematicians Cut Apart Shapes to Find Pieces of Equations," 31 Oct. 2019 Some blamed pressure to make up costs from low bids and the subsequent turnover of employees caused by low pay. USA Today, "Five takeaways from our investigation into the world's largest private security company," 31 Oct. 2019 With just 18 or so episodes in a season that needs to stretch from September to May, shows like The Good Doctor will take occasional breaks to make up that time. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "'The Good Doctor' Fans Are Upset About This Week's Episode News," 29 Oct. 2019 In fact, our skin microbiome, the community of microorganisms that lives there, is made up of more than a trillion bacteria in and on our skin, comprising about 1,000 different species. Deanna Pai, CNN Underscored, "How probiotics can help prevent acne, eczema and skin irritation," 22 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'makeup.' 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 makeup


1821, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about makeup

Time Traveler for makeup

Time Traveler

The first known use of makeup was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for makeup

Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Makeup.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for makeup


How to pronounce make up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of makeup

: the way in which something is put together or arranged
: the physical, mental, and moral character of a person
: substances (such as lipstick or powder) used to make someone's face look more attractive


make·​up | \ ˈmāk-ˌəp How to pronounce makeup (audio) \

Kids Definition of makeup

1 : any of various cosmetics (as lipstick or powder)
2 : the way the parts or elements of something are put together or joined
3 : materials used in changing a performer's appearance (as for a play or other entertainment)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on makeup

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


strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!