\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

Everybody's got to step up and everybody's got to do better. Fox News, "Meadows, Dershowitz react after Lisa Page defies subpoena," 12 July 2018 Players need to step up, call the floor, demand penalties every time. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "Phil Hellmuth apologizes for foul-mouthed rant during World Series of Poker hand," 10 July 2018 And the league fretted over who was going to step up? Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Golden State Warriors just copying the path of past NBA champs," 5 July 2018 While Europe is adding natural gas supplies from the U.S. and Qatar on top of its traditional mainstay, Russia, Trump’s demand that U.S. allies stop buying Iranian crude requires Saudi Arabia to step up production to keep prices in check. Kathleen Hunter,, "Travel Ban Win Could Embolden Trump on Border," 27 June 2018 Other defensive players who stepped up for Mainland were Kwad Brathwaite Jr., Dotson and Brandon Waley. Chris Hays,, "Andrew Plummer leads Mainland to UCF 7-on-7 championship," 18 June 2018 But for the program to function properly, Congress needs to step up and make some necessary (and potentially difficult) changes before 2034. Nathan Bachrach,, "Will Social Security be there when I'm ready to retire?," 14 June 2018 The parade honored first responders and others who stepped up to help with both emergency efforts and ongoing recovery work. CBS News, "Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York highlights post-hurricane pride," 10 June 2018 Exactly who will step up where, Bradley wouldn't say. Kevin Baxter,, "LAFC hopes to see Carlos Vela, Laurent Ciman off with a win," 25 May 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

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Comments on step-up

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one that holds something together

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