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ˌwən-ˈəp How to pronounce one-up (audio)
one-upped; one-upping; one-ups

transitive verb

: to practice one-upmanship on

one up

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: being in a position of advantage
usually used with on

Examples of one-up in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Around the same time, Altman zipped around the globe, visiting world leaders and developers in dozens of cities, including Doha, Qatar, and Tel Aviv, one-upping Zuckerberg’s 2017 tour of America. Nitasha Tiku, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2023 And if Thompson was a Doctor of Divinity from the Missionaries of the New Truth, Oscar one-upped him by having been a Baptist missionary at a leper colony in Panama before becoming a lawyer. Rory Feehan, SPIN, 9 Nov. 2023 TikTok surveillance is a passive-aggressive strategy for one-upping a seatmate. Amanda Hess, New York Times, 6 Oct. 2023 This cookie recipe takes all of our favorite notes from the classic cake, even using cake mix in the cookie dough, but has a few additional surprises to one-up its inspiration. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 6 Oct. 2023 The recent Anker Liberty 4 NC earbuds, for example, come with the same $100 price but include a wireless charging case, one-upping Samsung. WIRED, 3 Oct. 2023 Many have read into that iconic fashion moment, claiming that Harlow was attempting to one-up her catwalk colleague. Emily Kirkpatrick, Peoplemag, 27 Sep. 2023 This being a sequel that feels the need to one-up its predecessor, those shenanigans have escalated from interrupted wedding ceremonies to shootouts with the Cuban coast guard. Michael Nordine, Variety, 25 Aug. 2023 No one was trying to one-up one another, as in the typical writers room. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 16 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'one-up.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



back-formation from one-upmanship

First Known Use


1963, in the meaning defined above


1919, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of one-up was in 1919

Dictionary Entries Near one-up

Cite this Entry

“One-up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on one-up

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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