\ 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.

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The NGDVs that Oshkosh will build will include both battery-electric vehicles and low-emission internal-combustion-engine vehicles, both of which will be able to be retrofitted to keep up with the latest EV tech. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "USPS Chooses Oshkosh Defense to Replace Its Mail-Delivery Trucks," 23 Feb. 2021 Other backs will do just fine, but Harris is the type of player an NFL team can build their offense around. Omar Kelly,, "Kelly: Here’s a 10-step offseason approach to turn Dolphins into title contenders | Commentary," 23 Feb. 2021 Your flight might be changed or canceled, so build some flexibility into your travel plans. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "Planning a spring break trip during the pandemic? Here's what you need to know about flights," 22 Feb. 2021 Because the federal government has no control over land-use planning or building codes, which are set by state and local governments, the flood insurance program is one of its most powerful tools to influence how and where Americans build homes. New York Times, "Climate Threats Could Mean Big Jumps in Insurance Costs This Year," 22 Feb. 2021 Back of the Yards neighborhood strives to create a safe space and build relationships among youth and families who experience conflict and violence. Kimberly Fornek,, "Four La Grange area girls in first group to earn Eagle Scout rank in the Boy Scouts of America," 22 Feb. 2021 The move comes as many streamers are leaning into programming directed at kids, seen as a key way to attract more families to tune in with repeat viewing and build a new generation of viewers. Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times, "YouTube doubles down on kids programs with nine new shows this year," 22 Feb. 2021 As recently reported in the Union-Tribune, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is gearing up to help expand those facilities and potentially build a new diversion pump in the Tijuana River on the U.S. side of the border. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Reporter notebook: Will EPA fix for Tijuana River keep pace with growth?," 21 Feb. 2021 Meanwhile, there is little market incentive to build new factories or otherwise invest in producing more LDS syringes. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Pfizer’s extra vaccine dose was supposed to be a miracle. It’s now a mess," 21 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, despite her record run in Melbourne this year, Hsieh wasn't feeling in great form in the build-up to the tournament. Christina Macfarlane And Ben Church, CNN, "No sponsor? No problem. Tennis maverick Hsieh Su-Wei reflects on a memorable Australian Open," 23 Feb. 2021 The slow build-up of moisture over several days caused some of the blades to ice over, while connection lines began to droop under the weight of the ice until power production from some wind farms completely ceased. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "The two hours that nearly destroyed the Texas electric grid," 22 Feb. 2021 Leaving key power plant infrastructure outside prevents excessive heat build-up during warmer periods. Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, "Why the Deep Freeze Caused Texas to Lose Power," 18 Feb. 2021 Below are three maps that show the probability of seeing a tenth of an inch, a quarter of an inch, and half an inch of ice build-up respectively. Dave Epsein,, "Two storms this week will impact travel," 14 Feb. 2021 As has been the case for weeks, months and years across the NFL landscape, the question of equal opportunity is one of prevailing subplots during the build-up to Super Bowl 55. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Historic presence of Black coordinators at Super Bowl 55 is bittersweet against backdrop of NFL hiring patterns," 4 Feb. 2021 For heavy grease build-up, wipe your microwave door down with an all-purpose, grease-cutting cleaner (Mr. Clean Clean Freak Mist) or a sudsy mix of dish soap and water. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean a Microwave Quickly and Easily, According to a Cleaning Expert," 25 Jan. 2021 Paper plates can fly away, and disposable containers are often left behind, causing trash build-up. Cathy M. Rosenthal,, "San Antonio says no to designer pet sales, nuisance feeding of stray feral cats," 21 Jan. 2021 The same goes for other oral problems like plaque build-up or gum irritation. Hanna Horvath, NBC News, "The best at-home teeth whitening products, according to dentists," 14 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about build

Time Traveler for build

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for build

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Build.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on build

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!