up a notch

up a notch

An increase in value, intensity, importance, or the like. This term, from the later 1900s, is often paired with a verb, as in “take” or “step” up a notch.” For example, “His heavy press schedule has been stepped up a notch, his swings across the state planned to hit every available media market” (New York Times Magazine, Oct. 27, 1991). The converse, down a notch, means exactly the opposite, that is, a decrease in value, intensity, and so on. Thus, “The confrontation was dialed down a notch after Pakistan moved to arrest leaders of militant groups” (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 2, 2002). Both phrases use the noun “notch,” meaning one of a series of nicks on a stick used as a measure, figuratively. They may be on the way to clichédom.
See also: notch, up