step up

stepped up; stepping up; steps up

Definition of step up

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to increase, augment, or advance especially by one or more steps The team really stepped up their performance. The enemy stepped up their attacks. He also plans to step up efforts to headhunt for the best and brightest …— Jerry Garrett Factory production was stepped up in an effort to meet helicopter shortfalls.— Shelby L. Stanton
2 : to increase (a voltage) by means of a transformer … the use of transformers to step up the voltage to very high levels …— Thomas P. Hughes

intransitive verb

1a : to make the effort required to provide information, make a claim, volunteer, etc. She stepped up to claim responsibility. — see also step up to the plate
b : to succeed in meeting a challenge (as by increased effort or improved performance) They just didn't have the guys to step up and make the big plays with the game on the line.— Peter King
2 : to undergo an increase Business is stepping up.
3 : to receive a promotion She stepped up to the position of general manager.


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

Definition of step-up (Entry 2 of 2)

: an increase or advance (as in size or amount) and especially one that is gradual or incremental Lower inflation will minimize cost-of-living step-ups for Social Security recipients …— Arthur M. Louis This model will give them the quality step-up they want at a decent price …— Len Feldman "… We expect a gradual step up in sales each quarter as 2021 progresses, followed by an extended period of growth starting in 2022."— Nick Stanage

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 That means quarterbacks like Tua Tagovailoa need to step up, or get left behind. Omar Kelly, Sun Sentinel, 23 June 2022 Will the Mahindra Group step up & reserve a % of jobs for Agniveers to back up your statement here? Niharika Sharma, Quartz, 19 June 2022 With Iowa's June 7 primary out of the way, Republicans eyeing the White House can step up their travel and not worry about stepping into the state's intraparty rivalries. Thomas Beaumont, ajc, 18 June 2022 With Iowa's June 7 primary out of the way, Republicans eyeing the White House can step up their travel and not worry about stepping into the state's intraparty rivalries. Thomas Beaumont,, 18 June 2022 Kyiv’s European allies have vowed to step up military aid — even as many appear hesitant about Ukraine’s bid for European Union membership. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 11 June 2022 Any night, a new player will step up and have a big game. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 9 June 2022 Younger players will have to step up after the departures of graduates Paisley Harding, Sara Hamson, Tegan Graham and Maria Albiero. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 June 2022 Corporate cannabis has to step up with the cash, as a small investment towards their own profitability. Andrew Deangelo, Forbes, 8 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of step up


1902, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2


1879, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for step up

Time Traveler

The first known use of step up was in 1879

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Dictionary Entries Near step up

step turn

step up


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Statistics for step up

Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Step up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on step up

Nglish: Translation of step up for Spanish Speakers


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