\ˈstep-ˌəp \

Definition of step-up 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: an increase or advance in size or amount

step 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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Other Words from step-up


step-up \ˈstep-ˌəp \ adjective

Examples of step-up in a Sentence


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

And there has long been widespread recognition among both Republicans and Democrats that NATO members should step up their spending. W.j. Hennigan, Time, "President Trump Says NATO Allies Owe the U.S. Money. He's Wrong," 11 July 2018 Thanks to the confidence-boosting effects of social media filters, beauty brands have been stepping up to create foundations, highlighters, and primers with IRL filter-like effects. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "Dior Beauty's New Dreamskin Fresh & Perfect Cushion Compact Is More Filter Than Foundation," 10 July 2018 When Gray was younger, Locastro put his team through a drill where the running back had to put a move on a linebacker stepping up in the hole. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football getting 'thunder and lightning' with running backs," 8 July 2018 Nobody wants to give him any credit when things are going well, or when are young guys stepping up. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Heat is on the Cardinals - and manager Mike Matheny feels it the most," 4 July 2018 Mitchell noted that the majority of his 14 players are also on travel baseball teams, but that those who don't play on other squads stepped up and did a commendable job during the Senior Division district series. Gary Curreri,, "Boca Raton Senior All-Stars rally to district title in best-of-3 series," 30 June 2018 Organizations and corporations who pay lip service to gay rights need to step upInternational sport bodies like FIFA and IOC should not award their major events to the countries with major human rights violations. Yelena Goltsman, Vox, "This World Cup, let’s talk about Russia’s LGBTIQ rights record," 15 June 2018 Dear Mediator: When our division director retired, his deputy stepped up as interim. Steven P. Dinkin,, "The passed-over interim and the outside hire," 10 June 2018 Customers must step up, however, and demand accountability and compliance. Monitor Editors, The Christian Science Monitor, "Trump’s ending of the nuclear deal will help Iran’s economy," 9 June 2018

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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Time Traveler for step-up

The first known use of step-up was in 1902

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More Definitions for step-up



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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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