\ˌwən-ˈəp, ˈwən-\
one-upped; one-upping; one-ups

Definition of one-up 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to practice one-upmanship on

one up


Definition of one up (Entry 2 of 2)

: being in a position of advantage usually used with on

Examples of one-up in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

For cats who throw one up more than once a week, hairballs can mean more than just a household annoyance. Patty Khuly, miamiherald, "Cat’s hairballs are undeniably gross, but necessary and normal | Miami Herald," 5 Apr. 2018 The second option would give IPS one up-front, lump-sum payment of $6 million to $8 million. James Briggs, Indianapolis Star, "Exclusive: Charter schools say IPS rejected a multi-million dollar offer for Broad Ripple High School," 15 June 2018 And at its heart, the space race was a way to one up America's chief rival, the Soviet Union. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "First space mission to the moon recounted in new book," 21 May 2018 The bullpen covered the final 4 2/3 innings, with Tayron Guerrero a Yasiel Puig home run and Brad Ziegler giving one up to Cody Bellinger. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Marlins send reeling Dodgers to their fifth straight loss | Miami Herald," 15 May 2018 The study revealed that while traditional retail registries still reign supreme — 86 percent of couples set one up — there is an increase in couples using cash and charity registries. Christen A. Johnson,, "Paying for student loans, IVF with wedding money? Cash, charity registries increasingly common, study says," 22 June 2018 Some experts said the best way to discover a new session cocktail is to ask a bartender to whip one up. Allison Steele,, "Cocktails for all-day (and all-night) drinking sessions," 23 May 2018 Watford had a great chance to go one up in the 54th minute, with Wayne Rooney losing possession to Troy Deeney, but the striker's looping header was easily saved by Pickford., "Watford 1-0 Everton: Troy Deeney Claims Victory for Hornets After Scrappy Display From Both Sides," 24 Feb. 2018 Hazard has scored twice so far in Russia, and set one up for center forward Romelu Lukaku, who is level with Ronaldo on four goals and one behind top scorer Harry Kane of England. Jerome Pugmire,, "Hazard: 'it's time to shine' after Ronaldo, Messi eliminations," 1 July 2018

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


1963, in the meaning defined above


1919, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for one-up


back-formation from one-upmanship

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Time Traveler for one-up

The first known use of one-up was in 1919

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More Definitions for one-up



English Language Learners Definition of one-up

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to get an advantage over (someone)

one up


English Language Learners Definition of one up (Entry 2 of 2)

: having an advantage over someone : in a position that is better than someone else's position

More from Merriam-Webster on one-up

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Comments on one-up

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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