raise the ante, to

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raise the ante

To increase the level of something, often one related to money. I'm going to raise the ante and threaten them a little so that they finally pay up. Sellers have raised the ante in this area so much that first-time buyers can no longer afford it.
See also: ante, raise

up the ante

1. To raise the stakes in a betting game. I didn't planning on betting so much until Jason upped the ante on us.
2. To increase the level of something, often one related to money. I'm just going to threaten them a little and up the ante so that they finally pay up. Sellers have upped the ante in this area so much that first-time buyers can no longer afford it.
See also: ante, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

up the ante

COMMON
1. In an argument or contest, if you up the ante, you increase the demands that you are making or the risks that you are taking. Note: In card games such as poker, the ante is the amount of money which each player must place on the table before the game begins. The secretary of state last night upped the ante by refusing to accept the election results. Whenever they reached their goal, they upped the ante, setting increasingly complex challenges for themselves. Note: You can also say that you raise the ante. These judges have raised the ante by challenging the authority of the Chief Justice.
2. If you are gambling or investing money in something and you up the ante, you increase the amount of money you are offering. Note: In card games such as poker, the ante is the amount of money which each player must place on the table before the game begins. Its network television division upped the ante by paying an estimated $2 million a year for an overall deal. Note: You can also say that you raise the ante. My defeat came when I was unable to persuade my backer to raise the ante.
See also: ante, up
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

up (or raise) the ante

increase what is at stake or under discussion, especially in a conflict or dispute.
Ante comes from Latin, in which it means ‘before’. As an English noun it was originally (in the early 19th century) a term in poker and similar gambling games, meaning ‘a stake put up by a player before drawing cards’.
1998 New Scientist This report ups the ante on the pace at which these cases need to be identified and treated.
See also: ante, up
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

raise the ante, to

Also, to up the ante. To increase the price or cost of something in order to achieve a better result. Dating from the late 1800s, the term alludes to the stakes of gambling, where the ante means the stake each player must put into the pool. It has long been used figuratively, as in “They are raising the ante in what it takes to become a certified analyst.”
See also: raise, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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Turkey's objective is to raise the ante through naval moves and strong-worded rhetoric and the Cyprus government appears caught in two minds about how to respond.
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and the EU sought to raise the ante on Russia to engage in meaningful talks.
Apparently Israel's threat to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities remains a serious option, even though such an attack would have only a limited effect and would provoke Iran to raise the ante against Israel.
Israel will continue to raise the ante for as long as American administrations are willing to succumb to its wishes.
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And certainly a Congress controlled by Democrats is unlikely to raise the ante over what a Democratic administration proposes.
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Smith's comments are certain to raise the ante ahead of today's lunchtime clash between the clubs at Tynecastle, where the Lithuanian is expected to get a hot reception from the travelling fans.