I. noun a stake put up by a player in poker or brag before receiving cards. • the antes were at the $10,000–$20,000 level.
II. verb — [with obj.] ( ante something up) 1. put up an amount as an ante in poker or brag and similar games. 2.
‹informal› pay an amount of money in advance
• he anted up $925,000 of his own money
• [no obj.]
the owners have to ante up if they want to attract the best talent.
III. phrases up (or raise) the ante increase what is at stake or under discussion, especially in a conflict or dispute • he decided to up the ante in the trade war.
– origin early 19th cent.: from Latin, literally ‘before’.