a building up, as of military forces; increase in amount or number.
a process of growth; strengthening; development:
the buildup of heavy industry.
an accumulation, as of a particular type of material:
a buildup of salt deposits.
an increase, as in potential, intensity, or pressure:
A buildup of suspense began halfway through the movie.
a progressive or sequential development:
the buildup of helium atoms from hydrogen.
praise or publicity designed to enhance a reputation or popularize someone or something:
The studio spent $100,000 on the new star’s buildup.
a process of preparation designed to make possible the achievement of an ultimate objective:
a lengthy buildup to a sales pitch.
encouragement; a psychological lift:
Every time I need a buildup, I look at her picture.
to construct (especially something complex) by assembling and joining parts or materials:
to build a house.
to establish, increase, or strengthen (often followed by up):
to build a business; to build up one’s hopes.
to mold, form, or create:
to build boys into men.
to base; found:
a relationship built on trust.

to make (words) from letters.
to assemble (cards) according to number, suit, etc., as in melding.

to engage in the art, practice, or business of building.
to form or construct a plan, system of thought, etc. (usually followed by on or upon):
He built on the philosophies of the past.
to increase or develop toward a maximum, as of intensity, tempo, or magnitude (often followed by up):
The drama builds steadily toward a climax.
the physical structure, especially of a person; physique; figure:
He had a strong build.
the manner or form of construction:
The house was of modern build.

a version of a program after compilation, typically an update to an existing version made before the program is released.
the process of producing a software build.
a new version or update of data in a database or on a website:
frequent, incremental builds of data.


a vertical joint.
the vertical dimension of a stone laid on its bed.

build in/into, to build or incorporate as part of something else:
to build in bookcases between the windows; an allowance for travel expenses built into the budget.
build up,

to develop or increase:
to build up a bank account.
to strengthen.
to prepare in stages.
to fill in with houses; develop into an urban area.
to praise or flatter.

Contemporary Examples

Can Yahoo Save the News? Larry Kramer August 29, 2009
Sit Down and Shut Up Amy Siskind July 15, 2009
Charlie Sheen On ‘Anger Management’, Lindsay Lohan, Partying & More Marlow Stern January 15, 2013
How Libya Saps America’s Power Leslie H. Gelb April 16, 2011
Jim Carrey Almighty Kim Masters June 10, 2009

Historical Examples

Annie Besant Annie Besant
Esoteric Christianity, or The Lesser Mysteries Annie Besant
St. Nicholas v. 13 No. 9 July 1886 Various
Skinner’s Dress Suit Henry Irving Dodge
Lady Rose’s Daughter Mrs. Humphry Ward

verb (adverb)
(transitive) to construct gradually, systematically, and in stages
to increase, accumulate, or strengthen, esp by degrees: the murmur built up to a roar
(intransitive) to prepare for or gradually approach a climax
(transitive) to improve the health or physique of (a person)
(transitive, usually passive) to cover (an area) with buildings
(transitive) to cause (a person, enterprise, etc) to become better known; publicize: they built several actresses up into stars
progressive increase in number, size, etc: the build-up of industry
a gradual approach to a climax or critical point
the training and practice that constitutes the preparation for a particular event or competition: the team’s Olympic build-up
extravagant publicity or praise, esp in the form of a campaign
(military) the process of attaining the required strength of forces and equipment, esp prior to an operation
verb builds, building, built
to make, construct, or form by joining parts or materials: to build a house
(intransitive) to be a builder by profession
(transitive) to order the building of: the government builds most of our hospitals
foll by on or upon. to base; found: his theory was not built on facts
(transitive) to establish and develop: it took ten years to build a business
(transitive) to make in a particular way or for a particular purpose: the car was not built for speed
(intransitive) often foll by up. to increase in intensity: the wind was building

to add cards to each other to form (a sequence or set)
(intransitive) to add to the layout of cards on the table from one’s hand

physical form, figure, or proportions: a man with an athletic build

In the United States, this verb is used with much more latitude than in England. There, as Fennimore Cooper puts it, everything is BUILT. The priest BUILDS up a flock; the speculator a fortune; the lawyer a reputation; the landlord a town; and the tailor, as in England, BUILDS up a suit of clothes. A fire is BUILT instead of made, and the expression is even extended to individuals, to be BUILT being used with the meaning of formed. [Farmer, “Slang and Its Analogues,” 1890]


One’s physique, esp one’s figure or shape; bod: a husky build/ sexy build (1850s+)
A show whose earnings continue to increase: The revue was a build once word-of-mouth took hold (1950s+ Theater)
: It’s been a long build, but we can make our move now

Publicity and other provisions for introducing a new product, entertainer, etc: the buildup for a concert (1920s+)
The careful preparation of a potential customer or victim (1940s+)

Fill an area with houses or other buildings, urbanize. For example, We want to protect the wetlands against those who want to build up the area. [ c. 1400 ]
Gradually develop, increase in stages. For example, I want to build up my endurance for the race. [ Early 1700s ]
Accumulate or collect, as in A lot of rust has built up on the farm machinery. [ Mid-1900s ]
Increase, strengthen, develop toward, as in The sound built up until it was nearly deafening, or His argument was building up to a grand climax. [ c. 1930 ]
Establish or enhance a reputation; praise or flatter. For example, Months before the official campaign could begin, they had been building up the senator’s image. [ c. 1930 ]

build down
build in
build on
build on sand
build up


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    a building up, as of military forces; increase in amount or number. a process of growth; strengthening; development: the buildup of heavy industry. an accumulation, as of a particular type of material: a buildup of salt deposits. an increase, as in potential, intensity, or pressure: A buildup of suspense began halfway through the movie. a […]

  • Builder

    a person who builds. a person who constructs buildings under contract or as a speculation. a substance, as an abrasive or filler, added to soaps or other cleaning agents to increase their effectiveness. Contemporary Examples A New Project Makes Owning an Ecofriendly Smart House Possible for More Than Just the 1 Percent Edward Ferguson July […]

  • Builder-s-knot

    clove hitch. a knot or hitch for fastening a rope to a spar or larger rope, consisting of two half hitches made in opposite directions, the two parts of the rope emerging also in opposite directions. noun a knot or hitch used for securing a rope to a spar, post, or larger rope

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    the practice of climbing tall urban buildings, for sport or publicity.

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