\ 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


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

May’s government has stepped up contingency planning for this no-deal scenario, but the closer Britain gets to its exit date, the more dire the outcome seems. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The 7 biggest foreign news stories to watch in 2019, from Brexit to North Korea," 24 Dec. 2018 Judging by the influx of TOO CUTE FOR WORDS promposals that flooded Twitter and Instagram recently, the good humans of the world have seriously stepped up their prom game. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "21 Adorable New Ways to Ask Someone to Prom," 19 Nov. 2018 Authorities have stepped up searches for bodies and missing people in Northern California where a wildfire has ravaged the town of Paradise in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Washington firefighters going to help fight California blazes," 12 Nov. 2018 Numerous manufacturers have stepped up with their own efforts to produce a foldable smartphone. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Samsung says its foldable phone is also a tablet that fits in your pocket," 12 Oct. 2018 Activist investor Edward Bramson stepped up a campaign for strategy change at Barclays PLC by applying for a shareholder vote to put him on the bank’s board. Margot Patrick, WSJ, "Activist Steps Up Push for Barclays Board Seat," 5 Feb. 2019 When phone lines and cellular networks go down, for instance, ham operators always step up to the plate to assist in emergency situations. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Choose a Two-Way Radio," 10 Dec. 2018 And then the host, French DJ Martin Solveig, stepped up to ask her a question. Wendy Naugle, Glamour, "This Female Soccer Star Makes History—Then Is Asked If She Knows How to Twerk," 4 Dec. 2018 On Monday morning, Timothée and Lily-Rose stepped up their PDA when onlookers reportedly saw them stop for a quick make out while walking through downtown Manhattan. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Timothée Chalamet and Lily-Rose Depp Are Reportedly Dating," 2 Oct. 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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Statistics for step-up

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on step-up

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for step-up

Comments on step-up

What made you want to look up step-up? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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