\ 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 By figuring things out themselves, your team can really step up. Ben Plomion, Forbes, 8 June 2021 If only someone — Republican or Democrat — would step up and give him a fight. al, 8 June 2021 Entrepreneurs working to solve these global problems are asking companies to step up, own, and scale this Impact-as-a-Service category. Steve Ellis, Fortune, 7 June 2021 While Tulsas’ defensive players have received more notice lately, the offensive could step up in 2021. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 5 June 2021 To get ahead of the next biological disaster, the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration must step up detection and tracking of research efforts centering on diseases with the potential to trigger pandemics. David Asher, WSJ, 3 June 2021 Charleston: The state will step up its prizes for vaccines, enrolling all residents who have received a COVID-19 shot into a lottery for the chance to win a college scholarship, an F-150 pickup truck or cash rewards. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 1 June 2021 In the meantime, hopefully other players can step up and fill in the hole. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 26 May 2021 The Reds, looking to shore up their bullpen, need relievers like Heath Hembree, Michael Feliz or Brach to step up in high-leverage situations for them. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 22 May 2021

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 24 Jun. 2021.

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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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for step-up


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