de·​vel·​op | \di-ˈvel-əp, dē-\

Definition of develop 

transitive verb

1a : to set forth or make clear by degrees or in detail : expound develop a thesis

b : to make visible or manifest developed the scene in her mind

c dyeing : to treat with an agent to cause the appearance of color

d photography : to subject (exposed material) especially to chemicals in order to produce a visible image develop film also : to make visible by such a method develop pictures

e : to elaborate (a musical idea) by the working out of rhythmic and harmonic changes in the theme (see theme sense 4)

2a : to work out the possibilities of develop an idea

b : to create or produce especially by deliberate effort over time develop new ways of doing business develop software

3a : to make active or promote the growth of developed his muscles developing your mental abilities

b(1) : to make available or usable develop natural resources

(2) : to make suitable for commercial or residential purposes develop land

c games : to move (a chess piece) from the original position to one providing more opportunity for effective use develop the rook

4a : to cause to evolve or unfold gradually : to lead or conduct (something) through a succession of states or changes each of which is preparatory for the next developed his argument

b : to expand by a process of growth working to develop the company further

c biology : to cause to grow and differentiate along lines natural to its kind more rain will be needed to develop the plants properly

d : to become infected or affected by developed pneumonia

5 : to acquire gradually develop an appreciation for ballet

intransitive verb

1 biology

a : to go through a process of natural growth, differentiation (see differentiation sense 3), or evolution by successive changes A blossom develops from a bud.

b : to acquire secondary sex characteristics the year that her breasts fully developed

2 : to become gradually manifest the facts that developed over the next few days

3 : to come into being gradually the situation developing in eastern Europe also : turn out sense 2a it developed that no one had paid the bill

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Other Words from develop

developable \-​ˈve-​lə-​pə-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms for develop


elaborate, evolve, unfold

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Examples of develop in a Sentence

She has been exercising regularly to develop her back muscles. The story was later developed into a novel. The island has developed its economy around tourism. The course is designed to develop your writing skills. A blossom develops from a bud. The doctor says that the child is developing normally. In this class, we will be learning about how languages develop. Scientists are developing a treatment for the disease. The company has developed a new method for recycling old tires. He develops the concept more fully in his book.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And on top of that, somewhere along the way, Hyland had developed an abdominal hernia, where internal tissue pushes through abdominal muscles. Zahra Barnes, SELF, "Sarah Hyland Opens Up About Dialysis and Her Second Kidney Transplant," 10 Dec. 2018 Bank of America has developed a national training program to help its employees show empathy. Kate King, WSJ, "Wanted: Employees Who Can Shake Hands, Make Small Talk," 9 Dec. 2018 Partly for these reasons, no country has ever developed nuclear weapons while being a party to the NPT. R. Daniel Bressler, Vox, "“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab," 6 Dec. 2018 Microsoft has also developed a number of compelling security features for Edge that don't exist in Chromium. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Report: Microsoft is scrapping Edge, switching to just another Chrome clone," 4 Dec. 2018 Qualcomm developed a 3D Sonic Sensor, an in-display ultrasonic sensor for authenticating smartphone users via their fingerprints, and through smudges on the glass. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 855 mobile chip as it readies for 5G," 4 Dec. 2018 Most people have developed a love/hate relationship with various platforms yet still check them obsessively. Adam Schubak, Good Housekeeping, "5 Things to Do Before 2018 Ends That Will Help You Kick Off 2019," 30 Nov. 2018 Sheikh Ahamd has developed a solid power base since taking over ANOC as the interim president in 2012. Stephen Wade, The Seattle Times, "Olympic ‘kingmaker’ Sheikh Ahmad leaves to handle court case," 28 Nov. 2018 Besides roaches, bed bugs, head lice, houseflies, mosquitoes and other common insects in our houses have developed resistance to our pesticides. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018

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

1714, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for develop

French développer, from Old French desveloper, desvoluper to unwrap, expose, from des- de- + envoloper to enclose — more at envelop

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Statistics for develop

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for develop

The first known use of develop was in 1714

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More Definitions for develop



English Language Learners Definition of develop

: to cause (something) to grow or become bigger or more advanced

: to grow or become bigger or more advanced

: to create (something) over a period of time


de·​vel·​op | \di-ˈve-ləp \
developed; developing

Kids Definition of develop

1 : to make or become plain little by little : unfold From the microscopic point of Boone's pencil there developed a most amazing scene.— Lynne Reid Banks, The Indian in the Cupboard

2 : to apply chemicals to exposed photographic material (as a film) in order to bring out the picture

3 : to bring out the possibilities of : improve develop an idea

4 : to make more available or usable develop land

5 : to begin to have gradually develop a cough

6 : to begin to exist or be present gradually A romance developed between them.

7 : to create over time develop new medicines

8 : to grow or cause to grow bigger, more mature, or more advanced He's developing his muscles with exercise.

Other Words from develop

developer noun


transitive verb
de·​vel·​op | \di-ˈvel-əp \

Medical Definition of develop 

1a : to make active or promote the growth of developed their muscles by weight lifting

b : to cause to grow and differentiate along lines natural to its kind the zygote is gradually developed into the adult plant or animal

2 : to become infected or affected by developed pneumonia

intransitive verb

1 : to go through a process of natural growth, differentiation, or evolution by successive stages the fever develops normally the embryo develops into a well-formed human being

2 : to acquire secondary sex characteristics she is developing rapidly for a girl of 12

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More from Merriam-Webster on develop

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with develop

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for develop

Spanish Central: Translation of develop

Nglish: Translation of develop for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of develop for Arabic Speakers

Comments on develop

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


a nest or breeding place

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