\ ˈbild How to pronounce build (audio) \
built\ ˈbilt How to pronounce build (audio) \; building

Definition of build

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to form by ordering and uniting materials by gradual means into a composite whole : construct birds building a nest build new hospitals and schools the boat her father built
2 : to cause to be constructed a contractor who has built hundreds of homes
3 : to develop according to a systematic plan, by a definite process, or on a particular base building a legal case against her built the organization from the ground up
4 : increase, enlarge helps build muscle build support for their candidate building friendships

intransitive verb

1 : to engage in building
2a : to progress toward a peak (as of intensity) build to a climax
b : to develop in extent a crowd building
build a fire under
: to stimulate to vigorous action
build into
: to make an integral part of build quality into the product
build on
: to use as a foundation building on past experience


plural builds

Definition of build (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : form or mode of structure : make the boxy build of the car especially : bodily conformation of a person or animal a man of stocky build
2 : a version or iteration of a product or component We worked with several builds of the beta code, which was in itself instructive. Things that worked perfectly in one version stopped working at all in the next release.— Bill Machrone et al.

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Examples of build in a Sentence

Verb The bridge was built in the 1890s. The planes were built in Germany. The organization helps build houses for poor families. A family of birds has built a nest on our roof. She started building a fire in the fireplace. He built a model airplane from a kit. You will need permission to build on your property. They are building a legal case against the tobacco industry. scientists building theories about how the universe began At college, you'll build friendships that will last a lifetime. Noun He is strong and muscular in build. a man of average build
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Despite Hill’s previous outburst against Tampa Bay, Davis said the Bucs didn’t build their game plan solely to avoid a repeat by Hill. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Carlton Davis, Gravediggers back from the dead in Super Bowl LV," 8 Feb. 2021 The family has been fighting the government’s efforts to seize a slice of the property via eminent domain and build a border wall that would leave the rest of the property cut off, on the fence’s south side. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "As Biden Decides What to Do With Trump’s Border Wall, Landowners Are in Limbo," 7 Feb. 2021 The Kansas City Chiefs will try to defend their 2020 victory and build a dynasty after a 50-year dry spell. Chris Morris, Fortune, "How to watch Super Bowl LV live online for free—without cable," 7 Feb. 2021 Ball started strong against the Wizards, helping the Hornets build a 69-52 halftime and later increased the lead to 29 entering the fourth quarter as Rozier and Hayward got hot in the second half. Steve Reed, Star Tribune, "Rozier scores 26, Hayward 25 as Hornets rout Wizards 119-97," 7 Feb. 2021 Pedroia’s best hope would be to stay on the ballot and build over time as Edgar Martinez did. Globe Staff,, "The case for Dustin Pedroia in the Hall of Fame: His backers better prepare for WAR," 6 Feb. 2021 The city’s construction also came at a heavy cost, both in the billions reportedly spent on construction, and the communities allegedly displaced from their homes so the military could build its own. Washington Post, "Myanmar’s military built a new capital as a haven for power. Other countries have tried that, too.," 6 Feb. 2021 The Morning Show divided critics early on but seemed to build momentum as its first season unspooled and got a ton of buzz by the time of its finale. Josef Adalian, Vulture, "Apple TV+ Is Doing Better Than You Think," 5 Feb. 2021 He is remembered by his peers as a driving force behind songwriter-publisher relationships with a remarkable ability to stay ahead of future trends and build company after company from the ground up. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "Publishing Visionary Chuck Kaye, the Force Behind Warner Chappell, Dies at 80," 4 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The first phase will be done in 12 to 16 months, officials said Monday, while full build-out is expected to take four or five years. Jeff Amy, ajc, "2 more Georgia electric cooperatives to offer internet," 8 Feb. 2021 While a typical build-out might take years to complete, these are done in just a couple of weeks. Diana Budds, Curbed, "GRT Architects Designs Streeteries That Can Outlast the Pandemic," 2 Feb. 2021 The $10,000 he was quoted by an architect for an outdoor build-out is more than his small family-run restaurant can afford. Priya Krishna, Bon Appétit, "Different Blocks, Different Outdoor Dining Scenes, One Deep Economic Divide," 21 Jan. 2021 But renewable energy companies have argued that the original plan didn’t leave nearly enough space for solar panels and wind turbines in the California desert — and Biden also pledged to support a massive build-out of clean energy. Los Angeles Times, "As Biden takes office, it’s a whole new era for writing about climate change," 21 Jan. 2021 That $250,000 in Opportunity Fund money would cover the theater build-out and be paid back to Theatre Y in its rental lease with Hunt. Doug George,, "Chicago’s Theatre Y plans a bold move: A campus in North Lawndale with members of the ensemble moving with the theater," 14 Dec. 2020 The company’s base case scenarios call for a large build-out of natural gas and emissions reductions ranging from 56% to 59%, depending on whether carbon policies are enacted (Energywire, Oct. 13). Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, "Biden and Electric Utilities Are Split on Emissions Goals," 13 Nov. 2020 As expected for both a town home and a newer build, this level has an open floor plan encompassing the kitchen and living and dining areas. Globe Staff,, "Home of the Week: A condo where you can park your car — and your inner child," 22 Jan. 2021 While rancher hats won’t necessarily protect your ears, the thick material and structured build will still keep your head warm during a winter outing. Carsen Joenk, Popular Science, "Best winter hats: Comfortable hats to keep you warm," 20 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'build.' 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 build


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for build

Verb and Noun

Middle English bilden, from Old English byldan; akin to Old English būan to dwell — more at bower

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Time Traveler for build

Time Traveler

The first known use of build was before the 12th century

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Statistics for build

Last Updated

14 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Build.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for build



English Language Learners Definition of build

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make (something) by putting together parts or materials
: to develop or form (something) gradually
: to increase the amount of (something)



English Language Learners Definition of build (Entry 2 of 2)

: the shape and size of a person's body


\ ˈbild How to pronounce build (audio) \
built\ ˈbilt \; building

Kids Definition of build

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make by putting together parts or materials
2 : to produce or create gradually by effort It takes time to build a winning team.
3 : to grow or increase to a high point or level Excitement was building.



Kids Definition of build (Entry 2 of 2)

: the shape and size of a person's or animal's body The boy has a slender build.

Choose the Right Synonym for build


build, construct, and erect mean to make a structure. build is used for putting together several parts or materials to form something. Workers are building the house. construct is used for the designing of something and the process of fitting its parts together. Engineers constructed a system of dams across the river. erect is used for the idea of building something that stands up. The tower was erected many years ago.

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