\ 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


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

The State Department designation, the first ever imposed on the Iran Space Agency and two affiliated research institutes, was another step up in tensions between Tehran and Washington. Washington Post, "U.S. sanctions Iran’s space agency over satellite program," 4 Sep. 2019 While the aerial attack led by the gunslinger Eason looked incredible (having wideout Chico McClatcher and tight end Hunter Bryant healthy was big too), going from facing EWU’s defense to Cal’s is an enormous step up. Max Meyer,, "College Football Week 2 Best Bets: Pac-12 Edition," 3 Sep. 2019 There are a range of respirators that are a step up from the basic N95 filter. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Don’t forget your medications when building your disaster plan," 1 Sep. 2019 The Hoosiers are a significant step up from Illinois, having gone 5-7 last season. Jonah Dylan,, "‘We’ve moved on to Wagner:’ Breaking down the 2019 UConn football schedule," 22 Aug. 2019 While Swift already has a few acting roles under her belt, including roles in Valentine's Day and The Giver, Cats marks a major step up for the pop star. Ciara Mcvey, The Hollywood Reporter, "Taylor Swift: A Look at 'Lover,' Her Bold New Stance, 'Cats' and What Might Be Next," 22 Aug. 2019 Polaris was a big step up from the airline’s older business class, where seats were shoulder-to-shoulder in rows of two and even four abreast in some cases. Eric Rosen, Condé Nast Traveler, "The World's Best Business Class Seats, and How to Fly Them on Points and Miles," 21 Aug. 2019 The Highline Duffel is a few steps up from the gym bag most students haul around. Dallas News, "Gadgets galore for back-to-school," 15 Aug. 2019 This fully virtual option is a step up from the physical AmpliFi Teleport device, which was already available for AmpliFi routers and retails for $99. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Ubiquiti just added a bonus to its AmpliFi line of mesh routers," 15 Aug. 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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Statistics for step-up

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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