\ ˈbild How to pronounce build (audio) \
built\ ˈbilt How to pronounce built (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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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.

Examples of build in a Sentence


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.


He is strong and muscular in build. a man of average build
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His candid dismissal of the recent rumours linking him with a move to the USA will come as a relief to his squad who will look to build on their success this year., "Phil Neville Dismisses Rumours Linking Him to USA Women's Manager Job," 3 Sep. 2019 In concert, Latino-America Unida lived up to its early potential and suggested an enticing future, should these musicians decide to build on this performance. Howard Reich,, "Jazz Fest review: A new band makes history and lights up festival’s finale," 2 Sep. 2019 One of the players in Howard County to keep a close eye on is Parris, who appears primed to build on her seven-goal, five-assist sophomore season. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "2019 Baltimore-area girls soccer players to watch," 2 Sep. 2019 Glenn McClary, 53, enlisted his entire family, including his nephew on vacation from Ecuador, to build sandbags at Mala Compra Park on Saturday. NBC News, "Ahead of Dorian, Florida county decimated by past hurricanes prepares for worst," 1 Sep. 2019 But much will hinge on the spread scheme Kingsbury is cooking up, built on shotgun snaps. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Arizona Cardinals rookie QB Kyler Murray an NFL X-factor with lofty expectations," 1 Sep. 2019 Our incredible Airbnb hosts actually built us a beautiful arbor to get married under, and cut up tons of tree stumps to place mason jar candles on top of, lining the path. Rachel Desantis,, "Country Singer Rachel Reinert Marries Fiancé Caleb Crosby at Tennessee Treehouse," 1 Sep. 2019 The Twins have another month to build on their record. Dana Gauruder, Twin Cities, "Twins break home run record with 268, but Tigers end their winning streak," 31 Aug. 2019 From a story on the stabbing of Kelso Cochrane in 1959 to another on the experience of riding a lazy river in a Spanish resort, the collection builds on Smith’s observational wit and ability to use fiction to comment on real-life events. Annabel Gutterman, Time, "The 42 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2019," 30 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Niners need them in 2019 because the build-up has been underwhelming. 3. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: What Jerick McKinnon’s injury setback really means for the 49ers," 28 Aug. 2019 Much of the excitement and the build-up that surrounds the idea of attending Afropunk is being able to experience and observe that art of dressing. Teen Vogue, "31 Stylish People at AfroPunk 2019 on What Punk Means To Them," 26 Aug. 2019 The challenge for many players will be to balance the build-up and big-game excitement with paying attention to the details and little things that often decide games. Edgar Thompson,, "UF Dan Mullen embraces big stage during Gators’ Week 0 clash with Miami," 19 Aug. 2019 This is an even slower build, a story of friendship growing into love. Ellen Morton,, "A summer reading list for fans of ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’," 2 Aug. 2019 This is an even slower build, a story of friendship growing into love. Ellen Morton, Washington Post, "A summer reading list for fans of ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’," 23 July 2019 But the planet doesn’t have time for that kind of slow-and-steady build. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Sustainability Is the Most Pressing Issue Facing Fashion—And It’s Only Getting Harder," 18 July 2019 Bryan is a product build analyst at Humana Inc. and an Iraq war army veteran with the 101st Airborne Division. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, "Farmhouse-style Fisherville ranch boasts outdoor space and pool that will make you swoon," 3 July 2019 For Jason Aldean, those awards have been the result of a slow, steady build of which Milwaukee has been a key part, with regular Summerfest visits across the past 15 years. Erik Ernst, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Summerfest 2019: Jason Aldean hits the country-rock sweet spot in energetic show," 28 June 2019

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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Statistics for build

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for build

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

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on build

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with build

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for build

Spanish Central: Translation of build

Nglish: Translation of build for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of build for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about build

Comments on build

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recurring in steady succession

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