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 If proposals double in a month, the talent acquisition team needs to step up their outreach, job postings and candidate marketing. David Moise, Forbes, 9 Aug. 2022 The idea was that as the U.S. disengaged from Europe, the EU would step up. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, 8 Aug. 2022 However, for true progress to happen, young blockers Austin Jackson and Liam Eichenberg have to step up, as well. David Furones, Sun Sentinel, 29 July 2022 This comes as Republicans step up outreach efforts to court the Hispanic vote, with a growing number of Latino voters shifting to the right across the country, some experts say. Paulina Villegas, Washington Post, 21 July 2022 The new focus also appears to step up the competition between two large concert halls with superb acoustics located just around the corner from each other: the 2,443-seat Meyerhoff and the 2,564-seat Lyric Baltimore. Mary Carole Mccauley, Baltimore Sun, 7 July 2022 World Food Program presses billionaires ‘to step up’ amid the war in Ukraine. Los Angeles Times, 24 May 2022 Ali dreams of a better life for himself, but his domestic responsibilities step up when his father’s sudden death leaves him in charge of his two young sisters. Manori Ravindran, Variety, 13 May 2022 Others members expressed worry over whether community and social services organizations will step up to help, and whether there will be enough resources and staffing for the support services needed in a successful navigation center. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, 11 May 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

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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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Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Step up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of step up for Spanish Speakers


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