verb de·vel·op \di-ˈvel-əp, dē-\

Definition of develop

  1. transitive verb
  2. 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 colord 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 4)

  3. 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>

  4. 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 (as a chess piece) from the original position to one providing more opportunity for effective use <develop the rook>

  5. 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>

  6. 5 :  to acquire gradually <develop an appreciation for ballet>

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 biology a :  to go through a process of natural growth, differentiation (see differentiation 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>

  9. 2 :  to become gradually manifest <the facts that developed over the next few days>

  10. 3 :  to come into being gradually <the situation developing in eastern Europe>; also :  turn out 2a <it developed that no one had paid the bill>


play \-ˈve-lə-pə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of develop in a sentence

  1. She has been exercising regularly to develop her back muscles.

  2. The story was later developed into a novel.

  3. The island has developed its economy around tourism.

  4. The course is designed to develop your writing skills.

  5. A blossom develops from a bud.

  6. The doctor says that the child is developing normally.

  7. In this class, we will be learning about how languages develop.

  8. Scientists are developing a treatment for the disease.

  9. The company has developed a new method for recycling old tires.

  10. He develops the concept more fully in his book.

Origin and Etymology of develop

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

First Known Use: 1750

DEVELOP Defined for English Language Learners


verb de·vel·op \di-ˈvel-əp, dē-\

Definition of develop for English Language Learners

  • : 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

DEVELOP Defined for Kids


verb de·vel·op \di-ˈve-ləp\

Definition of develop for Students



  1. 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. 2 :  to apply chemicals to exposed photographic material (as a film) in order to bring out the picture

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

  4. 4 :  to make more available or usable <develop land>

  5. 5 :  to begin to have gradually <develop a cough>

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

  7. 7 :  to create over time <develop new medicines>

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



Medical Dictionary


verb de·vel·op \di-ˈvel-əp\

Medical Definition of develop

  1. 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. 2:  to become infected or affected by <developed pneumonia>

  3. 1

  4. intransitive verb

  5. :  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>

  6. 2:  to acquire secondary sex characteristics <she is developing rapidly for a girl of 12>

Seen and Heard

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a side road used to avoid a toll

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