\ 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

The Olympic was the first to be built, and as the line's namesake, considered the lead ship. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Wild Conspiracy That the Titanic Never Sank," 27 Feb. 2019 The Alex Israel suitcase takes four times as long to build and will cost approximately three times as much. Nick Remsen, Vogue, "Overhauling Heritage (With an Edge of Clever Hype): A Conversation with Rimowa CEO Alexandre Arnault," 27 Feb. 2019 Installation Building and installing an IKEA kitchen is not like building and installing, say, a BILLY bookshelf. Jessica Dailey, Good Housekeeping, "Everything you need to plan and install your dream kitchen.," 11 Feb. 2019 Who built our dream city with shiny, swooping public transportation, a walkable core, and skyscrapers made of brick, concrete and vibranium? Mark Lamster, Curbed, "2018 in architecture: The good, the bad, and the urbanism," 27 Dec. 2018 More than 1,600 miles away along America’s northern border, Jiquanda Johnson, a journalist of color with 16 years of reporting experience in Detroit, built a small, independent newsroom in Flint, Michigan. Linley Sanders, Teen Vogue, "Nonprofit News Outlets Give Local Communities Control of Media Narratives," 7 Dec. 2018 The legislation, at least from the president’s point of view, really sucked, relinquishing only enough money to build a wall for 55 miles, or roughly the distance between the Washington Square Arch and the Fire Island Pines Ice Palace. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: A Whopper-Filled Press Conference," 17 Feb. 2019 This tendency seems fitting for a twosome whose bond was built on an unexpected connection, and for whom embracing the new and never-seen-before is second nature. Shoko Wanger, House Beautiful, "This Woman-Run Studio Designs Gorgeous Restaurants You’ll Want to Call Home," 13 Feb. 2019 Eight in 10 Democrats opposed building the wall and only about 1 in 10 were in favor. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Trump tries to turn border debate his way with El Paso rally," 12 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Germany, a big Huawei market, is leaning against banning Huawei gear in the build-out of its 5G networks. Dan Strumpf, WSJ, "U.S.-Huawei Fight to Take Center Stage at Trade Show," 22 Feb. 2019 Tyger Williams, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Milwaukee Police Officer Charles Irvine Jr. had a slight build and a youthful face. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Officer Charles Irvine Jr. remembered for his life of service and sacrifice," 9 June 2018 With sandy hair and a slight build, Ross looks younger than his age. Pamela Wood,, "Democrat Alec Ross, tech expert and author, says as Maryland governor he'll focus on 'what's next'," 24 May 2018 Riley has a sly grin, a slight build and a large afro. Jonah Weiner, New York Times, "How Boots Riley Infiltrated Hollywood," 22 May 2018 According to jail records, Frost has a relatively slight build, at 5 feet 3 inches, 135 pounds. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "She was busted for driving a stolen vehicle — then took off in the cop car, Okla. police say | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 30 Mar. 2018 The senior has a running back's build and is not really twitchy. Scott Patsko,, "James Washington, Oklahoma St. WR: NFL Draft 2018 (video)," 7 Mar. 2018 The suspect is described as 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium build and dark colored eyes, the release states. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Gary police seek information on kidnapping of 10-year-old boy," 15 June 2018 Police described him as black and about 6 feet tall with a slim build. Alana Levene,, "East Boston autistic man reported missing," 13 June 2018

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

8 Mar 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

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