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 Using a blender brush, New York makeup artist and co-founder of Westman Atelier Gucci Westman sweeps it up the cheekbones and across the lids. Fiorella Valdesolo, WSJ, "Zoom Beauty: How to Upgrade Your Skin Care," 19 Feb. 2021 Excellent genes, million-dollar facials and a live-in makeup artist? Jacqueline Kilikita,, "It Might Be Time For Us To Give Up The Quest For Glowing Skin," 10 Feb. 2021 Shannon Houston, Anstead's makeup artist turned best friend, and long-time best friend, Cassie Zebisch, will also star in the series. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Christina Anstead's New Show Spotlights Her Friendships With Shannon Houston and Cassie Zebisch," 4 Jan. 2021 Gottmik is a prolific celebrity makeup artist, and has the distinction of being the most followed season 13 queen on Instagram at the time of cast announcements. Paul Mccallion, Vulture, "RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Pair of Queens," 1 Jan. 2021 Brad Pitt got the ball rolling in season one with a surprise project for his longtime makeup artist. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ and ‘The Masked Singer’ top this week’s TV picks," 13 Dec. 2020 Brad Pitt got the ball rolling in the first season with a surprise project for his longtime makeup artist. Chuck Barney, Detroit Free Press, "TV highlights for the week of Dec. 13-19," 12 Dec. 2020 Danderand, an Omaha, Nebraska, makeup artist, set up a Facebook group last month inviting people to adopt the nurses and health care workers at her mom's hospital. David Williams, CNN, "Health care workers are being adopted by people who want to thank them for their sacrifices," 11 Dec. 2020 Halsey launched about-face earlier this year, citing her desire to create a makeup line that went against the flawlessness that other brands offer. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Halsey Goes Full Regina George With Rico Nasty, Chris Mintz-Plasse & More in 'Anti-VDay' Makeup Ad," 10 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The increase will most affect quantitative funds, which make up 10% to 20% of trading in Hong Kong, Citigroup analysts said in a note to clients. Joanne Chiu, WSJ, "Hong Kong Stock Market’s Record Year Slams Into a Big Tax Increase," 24 Feb. 2021 Many safety experts have attributed this to the growing proportion of SUVs and trucks, which now make up 60 percent of the country’s vehicle fleet. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Sure, Laugh Away. But Every Big Vehicle Should Look Like This New USPS Truck," 24 Feb. 2021 The young actors who make up the core of the cast are astoundingly skilled, especially Alexander and West. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: HBO Max's AIDS crisis drama 'It's A Sin' is the best show of 2021 so far," 22 Feb. 2021 But one of the groups marching in Yangon on Monday held up a banner apologizing to the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities, who make up at least a third of the national population. New York Times, "Myanmar’s Protests Are Growing, Defying Threats and Snipers," 22 Feb. 2021 Russell asked if surrounding property owners, or any Black residents who make up a large part of her neighborhood, were brought in for the review or apprised of the proposals. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Cleveland Heights council takes closer look at 3rd infill housing proposal for 42 new homes," 22 Feb. 2021 The ban also swept up Indigenous media organizations, meaning that Aboriginal people, who make up more than 25% of the region’s population may not have access to reliable information about vaccinations. Amy Gunia, Time, "How Facebook’s Australia News Ban Could Hamper Vaccine Rollout to Aboriginal People," 22 Feb. 2021 Life expectancy is lower among the people of color who make up 60 percent to 80 percent of many centers’ clientele, Curry explained. Globe Staff,, "Community health centers gear up for broader role in coronavirus vaccination," 21 Feb. 2021 Schneider said Nestle will focus more on premium products, which now make up almost a third of its total sales. Corinne Gretler, Fortune, "Nestle’s pet food is flying off the shelves. Now, the challenge is enticing their owners," 18 Feb. 2021

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

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Makeup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for makeup



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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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