\ ˈstep-ˌəp How to pronounce step-up (audio) \
plural step-ups

Definition of step-up

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an increase or advance in size or amount

step up

stepped up; stepping up; steps up

Definition of step up (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to increase (a voltage) by means of a transformer
2 : to increase, augment, or advance especially by one or more steps step up production

intransitive verb

1a : to come forward stepped up to claim responsibility
b : to succeed in meeting a challenge (as by increased effort or improved performance)
2 : to undergo an increase business is stepping up
3 : to receive a promotion

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Examples of step-up in a Sentence

Verb candidates stepping up their campaigns as election day draws near stepped up the pace to catch up with the others
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Canada is also stepping up enforcement and compliance programs. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, "Hunt for Cause of Vaping Illness Suggests Multiple Mechanisms of Damage," 17 Sep. 2019 Which is kind of where the hospitals have stepped up. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Open & Shut: A meadery opens in Anchorage, and Nordstrom will close for good Friday," 7 Sep. 2019 View Sample Sign Up Now Bose and his team quickly stepped up to care for those impacted by the shooting, including 13 gunshot victims who were taken to MCH. Jasmine Aguilera, Time, "‘Trauma Is Not New to Any of Us.’ Doctor Who Once Treated Saddam Hussein on Caring for Odessa Victims," 3 Sep. 2019 Cole McDonald and Chevan Cordeiro had time to step up in the pocket and find open receivers. Michael Lev, azcentral, "Arizona Wildcats rewind: Five takeaways from UA’s season-opening loss to Hawaii," 26 Aug. 2019 Owney's Rum Finds Kindred Spirits in The Kitchen In The Kitchen, Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss step up as mobsters after their onscreen husbands go to the clink. Khanh T.l. Tran, The Hollywood Reporter, "Drink and Dish: Jessica Alba's Favorite Tequila, Cocktails Inspired by 'The Kitchen' and 'Stranger Things'," 22 Aug. 2019 Some key industry professionals stepped up to share their views on hiring for a role that entails being responsible for a tech product over its entire life-cycle, from ideation to development to launch and use. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "When Indian entrepreneurs tried to draft a hiring guide for product managers," 21 Aug. 2019 In her absence, Skinner said that his team will look to its younger players to step up into the hole in the midfield. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Pride midfielder Emily van Egmond set for season-ending ankle surgery," 17 Aug. 2019 The Warriors also will look for someone to step up and make stops on the perimeter while Thompson recovers from surgery on his left ACL. Jon Schultz,, "Warriors preseason schedule is almost entirely games against Lakers," 8 Aug. 2019

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


1922, in the meaning defined above


1902, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for step-up

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for step-up

The first known use of step-up was in 1902

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More Definitions for step-up


How to pronounce step up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of step-up

: an increase in size or amount

More from Merriam-Webster on step-up

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for step-up

Comments on step-up

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


an agreement to stop fighting a war

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