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

cosmetics, maquillage, paint, war paint

Synonyms: Verb

compose, comprise, constitute, form

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of makeup in a Sentence


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.


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

As for her choices in beauty, her makeup artist has shared the drugstore products that Cardi swears by. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Cardi B Hinted at a Possible Beauty Line," 9 May 2019 Last week, her makeup artist, Hung Vanngo, confirmed Selena wasn't going by commenting on a post from a Selena fan account that was tagging her in Met Gala related posts. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Here's Why Selena Gomez Missed The 2019 Met Gala," 7 May 2019 Patients can put makeup on and return to work immediately following the procedure. Lindsay Silberman, Town & Country, "How to Reverse Sun Damage, According to Dermatologists," 16 Jan. 2019 But part of what makes a jar of this stuff such a great value is its other uses, like a makeup remover, hair mask, shaving substance, and even eye cream. Marci Robin, Allure, "Kourtney Kardashian Says This $18 Kopari Body Product Will Make You "Look Good Naked"," 3 Apr. 2019 Brigitte Hermanns used to be a fan of virgin coconut oil, using it as an eye makeup remover and a body moisturizer. Lucy Craymer, WSJ, "Trouble in Paradise: Coconut Oil Prices Are Slipping and Sliding," 7 Jan. 2019 Their porousness contributes to their shape as well as their makeup. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Reveals the Secrets of Saturn's Tiny "Ravioli" Moons," 29 Mar. 2019 What's even rarer, however, is to see the momager without any makeup on at all. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Kris Jenner Shared a Rare No-Makeup Selfie, and Fans Are Loving Her Barefaced Look," 21 Mar. 2019 If Meghan had much more makeup on, her face would have been the focus and not the gracefulness of her dress. Zoe Szathmary, Fox News, "Meghan Markle's royal wedding makeup artist says Prince Harry thanked him 'for making her look like herself'," 8 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This version of her namesake cava is made up of 70 percent chardonnay; the rest is the holy cava triumvirate of macabeo, xarel-lo, and parellada grapes. Krystin Arneson, Marie Claire, "The 5 Best Cavas to Sip Instead of Prosecco This Summer," 7 May 2019 Now about 10% of students at the sought-after schools are black or Hispanic, despite making up nearly 67% of the city’s enrollment. Leslie Brody, WSJ, "New York City Chancellor Affirms Push to End Elite-Schools Test," 1 May 2019 The former comprises three books, and the latter is made up of four. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Where Is Marcia Clark Now? All About the O.J. Simpson Prosecutor and Her Show 'The Fix'," 19 Mar. 2019 The process always involves music though, which isn't so surprising when your family heritage is made up of music legends. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Selah Marley Plays Dress Up with Dior," 15 Nov. 2018 With a diameter of about 3,000 feet (900 meters), Ryugu is one of 17,000 known near-Earth asteroids, and it's made up of some of the most primordial material in the solar system. Megan Gannon,, "'Crazy' Rocky Surface of Asteroid Ryugu Revealed in MASCOT Lander Images," 13 Oct. 2018 There are over 400 different chemicals that make up the plant, according to a 2012 study in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, including at least 60 of what are called cannabinoids. Mary Emily O'hara, Allure, "Why People With Asthma Can Benefit From Edibles," 20 Apr. 2019 Like many Thrones season premieres, the episode spent a lot of its time setting the stage for the action that will make up the bulk of the season. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Arya’s New Weapon on ‘Game of Thrones’ Is Going to Be a “Showstopper”," 15 Apr. 2019 Only the best of the best can withstand the physically demanding tasks and dramatic tribe alliances that make up Survivor, but one recent challenge pushed season 38 contestant Lauren O'Connell to the limit. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'Survivor' Sparks Controversy for the Show's Reaction to Lauren O'Connell's Scary Fall," 4 Apr. 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

Statistics for makeup

Last Updated

16 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for makeup

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

See more words from the same century

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

More from Merriam-Webster on makeup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with makeup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for makeup

Spanish Central: Translation of makeup

Nglish: Translation of makeup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of makeup for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about makeup

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).


something valued as if it were money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

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!