up the ante

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up the ante (third-person singular simple present ups the ante, present participle upping the ante, simple past and past participle upped the ante)

  1. (poker) To raise the stakes of a hand of poker.
    Synonyms: raise the ante, raise the stakes
    With three aces and two jacks, he thought it was safe to up the ante.
  2. (dispute) To take an action that raises the stakes, i.e. that increases the chances of conflict.
  3. (idiomatic) To render something more difficult.
    When runners cross-train for events, they often up the ante by running on sand.
    • 2021 May 25, Matthew Futterman, “‘I Am So Freaked Out. I Can’t Even Get My Mind Around It.’”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      At the same time, leaders of the sport have continued to up the ante, organizing harder and longer races. Many last several days and hundreds of miles and include both high-altitude climbs and extreme temperatures.
  4. (idiomatic) To render something more desirable.
    Synonym: sweeten the pot
    The school system cannot raise teachers' salaries, so they are providing better benefits as an effort to up the ante.
    • 2011 November 3, Chris Bevan, “Rubin Kazan 1 - 0 Tottenham”, in BBC Sport[2]:
      After a slow start, it was the home side who began to up the ante. Gokdeniz Karadeniz caused Spurs problems with his raids down the right and Alan Kasaev fired narrowly over from one of his pull-backs.


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