take it up/down a notch

take it up a notch
also, take it down a notch (opposite term)


  • apply more effort to achieve a goal
  • try harder
  • increase intensity or excitement

The phrase “take it down a notch” is the exact opposite in meaning. It would mean to calm down high spirits or decrease effort in something.

Example Sentences

  1. The team got through to the quarter-finals. Now they need to take it up a notch to get to the semis.
  2. Lauren has always loved a party, but she has taken it up a notch or two since Martin left her. She’s almost never in.
  3. The kids were so noisy and excited that I had to read them a story to take it down a notch.
  4. The threat of attack from the militant group was taken up a notch after fruitless negotiations with the leaders.
  5. My instincts are to use a very soft voice and politely request them to take it down a notch respectfully.
  6. For now, they are trialling 50 vaccines a day and will take it up a notch in the days to come.
  7. You can add various types of plants to your ladder shelf, and you can also add other decor items to take it up a notch.


“Take it up a notch” is a pretty contemporary idiom, having only been in use since the late 1900s. If you imagine a gauge or measure of some kind, with a number of notches set along from low to high, figuratively, you are going higher up the notches of the scale.

You may hear it used with other verbs, such as ‘step,’ ‘dial,’ or ‘go.’

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Idiom of the Day

put your foot in it

Meaning: say something (by mistake) that upsets, humiliates, or embarrasses someone

Example: Carla put her foot right in it when she congratulated her neighbour on being pregnant. It turns out she's not expecting but had just put on weight. Read on


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