\ 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 Fortunately, research by Nyhan, Milkman and many others points to ways to build that trust and prompt more people to step up and get vaccinated. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "The Best Evidence for How to Overcome COVID Vaccine Fears," 7 Jan. 2021 Governor Cuomo called on New York designers and manufacturers to step up and help. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The Year in Fashion: The 29 Moments We’ll Remember Most From 2020," 28 Dec. 2020 Madubuike, Washington and Ellis have to step up or the Ravens will step back. Mike Preston,, "Mike Preston: Ravens defensive line has to come up big against the Titans | COMMENTARY," 21 Nov. 2020 At least the Eagles, who need Carson Wentz to settle down and protect the ball and for his line and receivers to step up, get an undermanned 49ers. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, "Maybe Patriots-Chiefs will be classic Chiefs-Ravens wasn't," 1 Oct. 2020 China also agreed to step up its efforts to fight climate change. New York Times, "China and E.U. Leaders Strike Investment Deal, but Political Hurdles Await," 30 Dec. 2020 It’s time for America to step up diplomatic and economic efforts and reinsert itself in this process. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, National Review, "Russia’s New Territory," 23 Dec. 2020 The Democratic Party should step up its efforts to connect with rural voters who have gravitated toward President Trump and other Republican candidates in recent years, Democratic Montana Sen. Jon Tester said in an interview published Wednesday. Thomas Barrabi, Fox News, "Montana Sen. Jon Tester says Democrats' message to rural voters is 'really, really flawed'," 17 Dec. 2020 Florida is among the states being asked to step up its efforts, efforts — such as shutting down bars and indoor dining — that run contrary to what Gov. Ron DeSantis has espoused. Eileen Kelley,, "White House coronavirus report contradicts DeSantis, urges ban on inside gatherings away from home," 12 Dec. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of step-up was in 1902

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Cite this Entry

“Step-up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce step up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of step-up

: an increase in size or amount

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