Definition of dilate
1 archaic : to describe or set forth at length or in detail <dilate at full what hath befallen of them — Shakespeare>
2 : to enlarge or expand in bulk or extent : distend, widen <dilate our cultural knowledge> < … long after Italian women used drops of belladonna to artificially dilate their pupils. — Michael H. Robinson>
1 : to comment at length : discourse —usually used with on or upon <dilating upon themes of love and death>
2 : to become wide : swell <the pupil of the eye dilates and contracts>
dilatabilityplay \(ˌ)dī-ˌlā-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
dilatableplay \dī-ˈlā-tə-bəl, ˈdī-ˌ\ adjective
dilatorplay \dī-ˈlā-tər, ˈdī-ˌ\ noun
Examples of dilate in a sentence
The drug causes the blood vessels to dilate.
During labor, a woman's cervix will dilate to about 10 centimeters.
The drug dilates the blood vessels.
Origin and Etymology of dilate
Middle English, from Medieval French dilater, from Latin dilatare, literally, to spread wide, from dis- + latus wide — more at latitude
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of dilate
DILATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of dilate for English Language Learners
: to become larger or wider
DILATE Defined for Kids
Definition of dilate for Students
: to make or grow larger or wider <Her pupils dilated in the dark.>
Medical Definition of dilate
transitive verb: to enlarge, stretch, or cause to expand <dilate his pupils with atropine> <the drug dilates peripheral arteries>
intransitive verb: to become expanded or swollen <the cervix was dilating> <the pupils dilated>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up dilate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).