up·​grade | \ˈəp-ˌgrād \

Definition of upgrade 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an upward grade or slope

2 : increase, rise


up·​grade | \ˈəp-ˌgrād, ˌəp-ˈgrād \
upgraded; upgrading; upgrades

Definition of upgrade (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to raise or improve the grade of: such as

a : to improve (livestock) by use of purebred sires

b : to advance to a job requiring a higher level of skill especially as part of a training program

c : to raise the quality of

d : to raise the classification and usually the price of without improving the quality

e : to extend the usefulness of (something, such as a device)

f : to assign a less serious status to upgraded the patient's condition to good

intransitive verb

: to replace something (such as software or an electronic device) with a more useful version or alternative Upgrading to a new operating system can make people anxious, even under the best of circumstances.Macworld

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Other Words from upgrade


upgradability or upgradeability \ˌəp-​ˌgrā-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
upgradable or upgradeable \ˌəp-​ˈgrā-​də-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for upgrade

Synonyms: Noun

acclivity, ascent, hill, rise, uphill, uprise

Synonyms: Verb

advance, elevate, promote, raise

Antonyms: Noun

declension, decline, declivity, descent, dip, downgrade, downhill, drop-off, fall, hang, hanging

Antonyms: Verb

abase, degrade, demote, downgrade, lower, reduce

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Examples of upgrade in a Sentence


a slight upgrade in the roadway The hotel offered us a room upgrade.


This course will help you to upgrade your computer skills. They've upgraded the quality of their service. The city is upgrading the sewage treatment plant. The office is upgrading the telephone system. They upgraded the hotel to attract more business patrons. We were able to upgrade to first class. We had reserved a double room, but the hotel upgraded us to a suite.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many of Nebraska’s smallest counties can’t afford the technology upgrades, and some still rely on antiquated technology, such as 1990s-era Zip drives, to help tabulate votes. Grant Schulte, The Seattle Times, "Outdated voting machines spark election worries in Nebraska," 21 Nov. 2018 Kendra Scott’s jewel-tone hoops feel like an upgrade on your everyday pair, and Roxanne Assoulin’s crystal drops would surely be a hit at a New Year’s Eve party. Christelle Bacha, Vogue, "The Best Festive Earrings to Complete Your Party Look—For $250 or Less," 19 Nov. 2018 Simple upgrades like adding more meat and vegetables to old standbys like Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup are long overdue. Aaron Back, WSJ, "Campbell Investors Should Vote for Change," 15 Nov. 2018 Jenny Anderson/Getty Images Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular, a holiday tradition since 1933, is getting a high-tech upgrade: 100 of Intel’s Shooting Star Mini drones will now join the Rockettes onstage. Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, "100 drones are joining the cast of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular," 29 Oct. 2018 The 1967 bridge, considered innovative in its time for its use of concrete around its cables, was long due for an upgrade, especially since the structure was more heavily trafficked than its designers had envisioned. Frances D'emilio, Fox News, "Rescuers comb concrete and steel after bridge collapse," 15 Aug. 2018 The big changes include pre-arrival upgrades, including one room upgrade on a member's first paid stay, points accrual to earn free nights, and greater redemption flexibility. Ryan Craggs, Condé Nast Traveler, "Leading Hotels of the World Just Improved Its Loyalty Program," 3 Oct. 2018 Tesla claimed in April that some of its bottlenecks were smoothed out by equipment upgrades on its factory lines. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Panasonic completing 3 new cell production lines at Tesla’s Gigafactory," 26 Sep. 2018 Both are upgrades on the floor, and neither will cause the Lakers front office to open Twitter with teeth gritted and one eye closed. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "LaVar Ball's latest bluster shows Los Angeles Lakers need to trade Lonzo Ball," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Save $100 on Reason 10, $30 off your Reason 10 upgrade, and $100 to upgrade from Reason 10 Intro. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "The best Black Friday deals for DJs and electronic musicians," 21 Nov. 2018 To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video WATCH Ars Live #26: Oakland’s Revolutionary Approach to Privacy Share Tweet Email More... Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "How Oakland sets the new standard for meaningful police tech oversight," 2 Oct. 2018 Facing Russia's increased military activity in the region, Poland has been pressing for the 3,000 U.S. troops now deployed in Poland on a rotating basis to be upgraded to a larger, permanent presence. Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Trump: 'I feel terribly' for Kavanaugh," 18 Sep. 2018 Both these efforts plus the new tariffs target Made in China 2025, Beijing’s strategic gambit to upgrade Chinese manufacturing from cheap and cheerful to innovative and high-tech. Charlie Cambell/beijing, Time, "Lei Jun Wants to Be China’s Answer to Steve Jobs. But Trump’s Trade War Is Getting In His Way," 12 July 2018 The producer of ARveo Augmented Reality, German manufacturer Leica Microsystems, is working toward FDA approval to further upgrade its visuals for higher contrast during surgery, UConn said. Rebecca Lurye, courant.com, "UConn Health Is First U.S. Hospital With Augmented Reality Surgical Microscope," 12 July 2018 Perhaps the most obvious example is our inability, in the United States, to upgrade our infrastructure. Stanley M. Bergman, Fortune, "To Be a Better Nation, Bring Back Civility," 10 July 2018 Human rights groups say Chinese authorities have been zealously using big data collection, A.I. and facial-recognition technology to upgrade Beijing’s mass surveillance efforts. Dan Levin, New York Times, "A Tech Guru Captivated Canada. Then He Fled to China.," 10 July 2018 The Reds have nearly their entire roster under team control for the next offseason, except for pending free agent Matt Harvey, which should give the front office some flexibility to upgrade the team through free agency or trades. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Dick Williams: Cincinnati Reds planning to increase Major League payroll for 2019 season," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'upgrade.' 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 upgrade


1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1901, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for upgrade

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for upgrade

The first known use of upgrade was in 1873

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More Definitions for upgrade



English Language Learners Definition of upgrade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an area or surface that goes upward : an upward slope

: an occurrence in which one thing is replaced by something better, newer, more valuable, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of upgrade (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something) better by including the most recent information or improvements

: to choose to have or use something more modern, useful, etc.

: to get something (such as a seat on an airplane or a room in a hotel) that is better than what you had originally


up·​grade | \ˈəp-ˌgrād, əp-ˈgrād\
upgraded; upgrading

Kids Definition of upgrade

1 : to raise to a higher grade or position The restaurant was upgraded from three to four stars.

2 : to improve or replace old software or an old device


transitive verb
up·​grade | \ˈəp-ˌgrād, ˌəp-ˈ \
upgraded; upgrading

Medical Definition of upgrade 

1 : to assign a less serious status to upgraded the patient's condition from fair to good

2 : to reclassify (as a cancer, concussion, or bone fracture) to a more serious grade when the grades are numbered from least to most serious

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More from Merriam-Webster on upgrade

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with upgrade

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for upgrade

Spanish Central: Translation of upgrade

Nglish: Translation of upgrade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of upgrade for Arabic Speakers

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