\ 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 One possibility was that her body was inappropriately releasing one of several hormones that stepped up the activity of her body. Lisa Sanders, New York Times, "Why Did the Young Mother Have Searing Head Pain and a Racing Heart?," 30 Oct. 2019 Moore told The Courier Journal that race fans at the fall meet have stepped up their fashion game, and that goes for both men and women. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Watching the Breeders' Cup this weekend? Here's what to wear at Santa Anita and beyond," 29 Oct. 2019 Ahead, check out all of the best celebrity Halloween looks, and then be sure to consult our beauty guide for the best products to step up your own Spooky Szn glam. Teen Vogue, "Best Celebrity Halloween Costumes 2019," 28 Oct. 2019 Sure, Beal will get his, but who else is going to step up and provide big numbers? Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Washington Wizards at Dallas Mavericks odds, lines, picks and betting tips," 23 Oct. 2019 After backup running back Kaiden Naughton went down in the game’s first series, third-string running back Miles Molloy stepped up. Jason Hoffman,, "Cincinnati Ohio high school football: Turpin Spartans beat Anderson Redskins in ECC classic," 19 Oct. 2019 Ever since the best seller Quiet came out in 2012, the reserved among us have been stepping up and speaking out, eager to take power back from the endlessly chattering extroverts. Daisy Yuhas, Scientific American, "Quiet Disadvantage: Study Finds Extroverts Are Happier—Even When They’re Really Introverts," 9 Oct. 2019 For the Pride, the biggest question revolves around who will step up as a leader in the absence. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando Pride to face Washington Spirit without international stars," 5 Oct. 2019 We have been blessed with many generations of extraordinary citizens who step up to the plate to do the hours of training and volunteer their time to the community in a selfless commitment to our safety. Kevin Dayhoff,, "Dayhoff: Rich history of local fire companies predates founding of Carroll County," 4 Oct. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of step-up was in 1902

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Cite this Entry

“Step-up.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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How to pronounce step up (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of step-up

: an increase in size or amount

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Comments on step-up

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strength of mind

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