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Up my ante

Posted by Smokey Stover on March 07, 2009 at 20:21

In Reply to: Up my ante posted by Louise on March 06, 2009 at 17:07:

: Where/when did the saying "I need to 'up my ante'" (as in improve in some way) originate? I came across it in a transcript I am using for my AS level English coursework on spoken language.

I'm unfamiliar with the expression "AS level coursework." Unfortunately, I'm also unfamiliar with the expression "Up my ante." Sounds like a joke. But "up the ante" has a definite meaning, namely to raise the stakes, make the game worth more, increase the risk and the profit. If two nations are in diplomatic negotiations, one may say, for instance, "and we'll throw in Czechoslovakia as well." That's REALLY upping the ante.
Ante, of course, is what you put in the pot at the beginning of a poker game, as a stake. Since you put it in before the first draw, it's called "ante" from the Latin for "before."

This use of ante is from the 19th century. I've never heard "up my ante," but it's interesting to speculate what someone might mean by that expression. Perhaps it means adding to what I've already put in. But that would require every other player to up their ante as well.