up·​grade | \ ˈəp-ˌgrād How to pronounce upgrade (audio) \

Definition of upgrade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an upward grade or slope
2 : increase, rise


up·​grade | \ ˈəp-ˌgrād How to pronounce upgrade (audio) , ˌəp-ˈgrād How to pronounce upgrade (audio) \
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 How to pronounce upgrade (audio) \ noun
upgradable or upgradeable \ ˌəp-​ˈgrā-​də-​bəl How to pronounce upgrade (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for upgrade

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of upgrade in a Sentence

Noun a slight upgrade in the roadway The hotel offered us a room upgrade. Verb 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 Philip cited opportunities in mining new minerals for emerging technologies, investment in the upgrade and replacement of energy and transport infrastructure, and improving emissions efficiency in traditional economic sectors. James Thornhill, Bloomberg.com, "Australia Risks Economic Hit on Climate Inaction, Deloitte Says," 1 Nov. 2020 Asbestos could be in for a major image upgrade and a second life as a carbon sink. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "How Asbestos—Yes, Asbestos—Could Fight Climate Change," 23 Oct. 2020 But with many competitors offering a power upgrade and the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape sprouting both hybrid and plug-in-hybrid variants, the Rogue's roster is looking a little thin. Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2021 Nissan Rogue Ratchets Up Its Visual Appeal," 5 Oct. 2020 Metro invested $20 million in the project, including development of the mobile app and the upgrade of fare collection systems at all 91 Metro stations and about 1,500 buses. Justin George, Washington Post, "Metro and Apple roll out mobile payment system in virtual wallet and new app," 1 Sep. 2020 More of an upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited than a standalone platform, the HD tier costs $12.99 per month for Amazon Prime members and $14.99 for outsiders. Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times, "Lose the earbuds. Ditch the phone. How to get the most out of your music," 14 Jan. 2021 So far through testing of 2021 models, 10 vehicles earned the higher of the two awards this year—and the lower one last year—as a result of a headlight upgrade. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "Headlights Got Welcome Upgrades after IIHS Updated Award Criteria," 15 Dec. 2020 The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency needs to redo part of the Twin Peaks tunnel upgrade completed just two years ago, with a potential cost of tens of millions of dollars, after the original project didn’t replace a part as planned. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "Supervisors slam Muni for Twin Peaks tunnel rehab that needs millions for fixes two years after completion," 19 Nov. 2020 The new petroleum and cement terminal is part of an overall port modernization project that will replace aging infrastructure that local officials have long said is in dire need of an upgrade. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Port of Alaska’s new petroleum and cement terminal on track to finish construction in 1 year," 14 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ditch last year’s sequin dress and upgrade to this one. Kiana Murden, CNN Underscored, "New Year’s Eve outfits that will have you celebrating 2021 in style," 21 Dec. 2020 The county will upgrade the lift span controls on the Broadway Bridge later in 2021. The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Portland’s Burnside Bridge closed for lift span work," 30 Jan. 2021 The Air Force plans to upgrade the B-52 fleet’s engines, allowing the big bomber to soar on to 2050 or even later. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The B-21 Bomber Could Be the Coolest Plane Ever," 22 Jan. 2021 The city expects to pay between $400,000 and $500,000 to upgrade the building, primarily on efforts to increase security. Liz Navratil, Star Tribune, "Minneapolis Third Precinct officers move to second temporary location," 20 Jan. 2021 The veteran will upgrade the backup spot in 2021, a role the mid-round rookie could be ready to assume in 2022. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "Advice for Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch: A blueprint for 49ers’ offseason," 16 Jan. 2021 Through it all, the city managed to upgrade its bond rating this year, largely on the nearly $16 million cash reserve that had been compiled in recent years. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Cleveland Heights ‘evolving’ budget for 2021 will require some tweaks as pandemic dictates," 21 Dec. 2020 But questions remain about how many satellites might have owners that desire resurrection, upgrade, or repair. Sarah Scoles, Wired, "There Are No Real Rules for Repairing Satellites in Space—Yet," 10 Dec. 2020 And their plans to upgrade the restaurant rooftop will accommodate corporate events and family parties, which have all but evaporated during the pandemic. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Restaurants and stores are struggling to survive amid COVID-19. So why are many boosting spending, hiring workers?," 13 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for upgrade

Time Traveler

The first known use of upgrade was in 1873

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Statistics for upgrade

Last Updated

20 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Upgrade.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upgrade. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce upgrade (audio) , 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 How to pronounce upgrade (audio) \
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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