\ ˈstep-ˌəp How to pronounce step-up (audio) \

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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Other Words from step-up


step-up \ ˈstep-​ˌəp How to pronounce step-up (audio) \ 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

Now’s the time for our state representatives to step up and pass a bold set of solutions so all families — white, black, brown, and Asian — can have a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. Derecka Mehrens, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Cupertino illustrates why California must act to solve housing crisis," 10 July 2019 After initially brushing off security concerns raised by a software engineer who went public with his findings, Zoom Video Communications is stepping up its response. Michelle Cheng, Quartz at Work, "Zoom has reconsidered its response to a security flaw and is promising new fixes," 9 July 2019 And despite Trump’s symbolic celebrations of the U.S military, the government is apparently stepping up the deportation of noncitizen veterans and moving to deport some active-duty service members along with their families. Anthony W. Fontes, The Conversation, "The long, bipartisan history of dealing with immigrants harshly," 9 July 2019 Physicians have been stepping up their criticism of the CDC guideline and the DEA’s presence in their medical practices. STAT, "Stop persecuting doctors for legitimately prescribing opioids for chronic pain," 28 June 2019 Bye-bye harassment: Musicians take a stand for festival safety Tired of complacent attitudes at shows, millennial artists bolstered by #MeToo are stepping up with harassment solutions for festivals like Coachella. Christian Science Monitor, "The Culture | Music," 7 June 2019 Equally positive is that NASA and the academic community have begun to step up and help one of the most ambitious undertakings of our times. Ben Pearson, Ars Technica, "SpaceX beginning to tackle some of the big challenges for a Mars journey," 3 June 2019 Casey Affleck stars as a man paralyzed by an unspeakable trauma, who has to step up and take care of his teenage nephew after the sudden death of his brother. Emma Dibdin And Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "16 Amazon Prime Video Movies to Stream on Your Next Lazy Night In," 21 May 2019 The city has stepped up efforts to clear the parks and to get homeless people into the shelter system and housing over the last few years, reducing the total number of homeless in the city between 2017 and 2018. Julia O'malley, Anchorage Daily News, "Panhandling, drinking and loitering are at a breaking point in Midtown Anchorage, businesses say," 26 June 2019

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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