broad·​en | \ˈbrȯ-dᵊn \
broadened; broadening\ ˈbrȯd-​niŋ , ˈbrȯ-​dᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of broaden 

intransitive verb

: to become broad

Examples of broaden in a Sentence

They need to broaden their understanding of other cultures. The police have broadened the scope of the investigation. Her smile broadened when I told her the good news. The investigation has broadened to include the mayor's staff. His interests broadened to include art and music, not just sports.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Foundations, corporations and government funding agencies have been increasingly insistent that arts organizations broaden the reach of their offerings. David Lyman, Detroit Free Press, "Opera meets baseball in MOT's 'The Summer King,' a work about a Negro leagues legend," 10 May 2018 To broaden its geographical reach, the steering committee has already held meetings in Buenos Aires, New Delhi, and Brazzaville since 2016; the more than 150 participants at Friday’s meeting came from 35 countries. Martin Enserink, Science | AAAS, "Interested in responsible gene editing? Join the (new) club," 27 Mar. 2018 The scholarship fund will support BW students engaged in community service and is representative of a longstanding BW tradition of support for endowed scholarships that broaden student access to a quality higher education. Rich Heileman,, "Heights' Chamber to honor 'best and brightest': Around The Town," 9 Mar. 2018 Those who advocate broadening civil partnerships to all people urged the government to change the law. The Economist, "Politics this week," 28 June 2018 In his later years, Kennedy also welcomed sometimes-brutal discussions with African-American radicals, who broadened his understanding of black life in America. Alice George, Smithsonian, "On the Eve of his Death, Robert Kennedy Was a Whirlwind of Empathy and Internal Strife," 7 June 2018 Laschober entered the race after Vial and two other House Republicans joined Democrats to pass a law broadening an existing ban on people owning guns because of domestic violence or stalking convictions., "Liberal Democrats' primary wins could push Legislature further to the left," 15 May 2018 Lawmakers last year approved expanding the state's Empowerment Scholarship Account program to all 1.1 million public students by 2022, broadening eligibility from special-needs and foster students, as well as those in poor-performing schools. Rob O'dell, azcentral, "Arizona lawmakers poised to consider repeal of Ducey's controversial voucher law," 3 May 2018 The quiet conditions there could help to broaden the observatory’s reach, to frequencies one-tenth those detectable by current machines. Davide Castelvecchi, Scientific American, "Here Come the Waves," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'broaden.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of broaden

1727, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for broaden

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for broaden

The first known use of broaden was in 1727

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More Definitions for broaden



English Language Learners Definition of broaden

: to make (something) wider or more general

: to become wider or more general


broad·​en | \ˈbrȯ-dᵊn \
broadened; broadening

Kids Definition of broaden

: to make or become wide or wider

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More from Merriam-Webster on broaden

Spanish Central: Translation of broaden

Nglish: Translation of broaden for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of broaden for Arabic Speakers

Comments on broaden

What made you want to look up broaden? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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