level up

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From level +‎ up. The video game sense is a calque of Japanese レベルアップ (reberu appu).


level up (third-person singular simple present levels up, present participle leveling up or levelling up, simple past and past participle leveled up or levelled up)

  1. (transitive, literal and figurative) To raise to the same level or status; to improve so as to make as good as others.
    Antonym: level down
    Coordinate terms: upgrade; ramp up
    Near-synonym: step up
    The government promises to level up the department.
    • 2020 February 4, Phillip Inman, “Set targets to 'level up' regions, says Industrial Strategy Council”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Boris Johnson should consider setting targets to level up the UK’s weakest regions to tackle widespread inequality, according to one of the government’s senior independent policy advisers.
    • 2020 December 2, Paul Stephen, “Network News: Sunak focuses on jobs, infrastructure and 'levelling up'”, in Rail, page 7:
      Labour's Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds hit back at Sunak and said that his failure to greenlight major projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail showed that government claims of levelling up the country were "not supported by the evidence".
  2. (roleplaying games, video games, intransitive) To progress to the next level of player character stats and abilities, often by acquiring experience points in role-playing games.
    I leveled up after defeating the dragon.