step up your game

step up your game

Meaning

  • to improve the performance, quality, skill, or talents.
  • to increase the effectiveness of someone or something.
  • to put forth more effort and enhance the quality of your work.

Examples in Sentences

  1. Matthew said to Sarah, “Step up your game,” to which she replied, “I already have by memorizing every act in Shakespeare’s The Tempest this week.”
  2. Step up your game!” said the trainer in the gym to his new workout partner.
  3. Should I step up my game? That was what William’s roommate said to him when they discussed the underperformance of their stock portfolios this year. 
  4. The only way to “step up your game” in the dating world is to be a better listener, smile more, and make eye contact, as frequently noted by the hologram that was talking on John’s smartphone app.

Origin

While there is no specific date for the introduction of “step up your game” in the Modern English lexicon, it is relatively recent and similar to stepping up to a baseball plate or making progress in a sports game by leading the team to a big win. It is certain that the origin of this idiom comes from sports in America, and towards the end of the 1930s, the phrase first entered common usage.

With an idiom like “step up your game,” it’s important to remember that there are similar verb phrases like “lift one’s game,” “up your game,” “step up to the plate,” and “be on top of your game.” These idioms focus on improving some facet of a person’s life. And the use of “game” is relatable if not for the fact that life itself is a bit of a game with both “wins” and “losses.” The “stepping up” part is analogous to making an effort to be better.

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