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up the ante

 and raise the ante 
1. Fig. to raise the opening stakes in a betting game. Pete upped the ante on that the poker game to $100 per hand. Don't up the ante any more. You're betting far too much money already.
2. Fig. to increase a price. (Fig. on {2}.) Sensing how keen the people looking at the house were, Jerry upped the ante another $5,000. "Don't try to up the ante on us," said the man, "We know what the asking price is."
See also: ante, up

up the ante

also raise the ante
1. to raise the cost or risk of an activity By adding new inspectors, the customs service is upping the ante for smugglers.
2. to increase the quality of something Foxx says he intends to up the ante in nightclub entertainment by introducing new, extremely talented performers.
Related vocabulary: raise the stakes
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of up the ante (to increase the amount of money each person must risk in a card game or other activity involving the risk of losing money)
See also: ante, up

ante up something

to give money or something of value She refused to ante up the personal and financial information that she was asked to provide. Every member of the team anted up $50 to pay for equipment.
See also: ante, up

raise/up the ante

to increase your demands or to increase the risks in a situation, in order to achieve a better result
Usage notes: The ante is an amount of money that must be paid in card games before each part of the game can continue.
The government has upped the ante by refusing to negotiate until a ceasefire has been agreed.
See also: ante, raise

penny ante

of little value or importance He was proposing some penny ante increase in child-care that amounted to an extra ten dollars a week. We were burgled but they didn't take much - just penny ante stuff in the front office.
See also: ante, penny

ante up

Pay what is due, contribute; by extension, do one's share. For example, The trustees were asked to ante up $10,000 each for the new scholarship, or Tired of watching Joe sit around while they cleaned up, the roommates told him to ante up or move out . This expression comes from poker and other betting games, where to ante signifies making a bet or contribution to the pot before the cards are dealt. It was being used more loosely by the mid-1800s. Also see raise the ante.
See also: ante, up

raise the ante

Increase the price or cost of something, as in We'd hoped to invest in some land, but they've raised the ante and now we can't afford it . This term alludes to the ante or stakes of gambling. [Slang; late 1800s]
See also: ante, raise

ante up

1. To put some amount into the pool at the beginning of a round in poker or a similar card game: Everyone should ante up $1 to start the game. It may be your last dollar, but you'll have to ante it up! We must ante up before the cards are dealt.
2. To provide some funds or capital: The fundraisers anted up $10,000 for the charity.
3. To pay some amount of money, often reluctantly: Travelers are forced to ante up $5 for a candy bar at the airport. Can you imagine having to ante money up to use the restroom?
See also: ante, up


1. n. an amount of money that must be contributed before playing certain card games such as poker. (see also penny-ante.) That’s a pretty high ante. Forget it!
2. n. the charge or cost. What’s the ante for a used 1985 four-door?


mod. trivial; cheap. (see also ante.) I’m sick of this penny-ante stuff. Let’s get serious.
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