ex·​pand | \ik-ˈspand \
expanded; expanding; expands

Definition of expand 

transitive verb

1 : to open up : unfold

2 : to increase the extent, number, volume, or scope of : enlarge

3a : to express at length or in greater detail

b : to write out in full expand all abbreviations

c : to subject to mathematical expansion expand a function in a power series

intransitive verb

1 : to open out : spread

2 : to increase in extent, number, volume, or scope

3 : to speak or write fully or in detail expanded on the theme

4 : to feel generous or optimistic

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Other Words from expand

expandability \ ik-​ˌspan-​də-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
expandable \ ik-​ˈspan-​də-​bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for expand

expand, amplify, swell, distend, inflate, dilate mean to increase in size or volume. expand may apply regardless of the manner of increase (such as growth, unfolding, addition of parts). a business that expands every year amplify implies the extension or enlargement of something inadequate. amplify the statement with details swell implies gradual expansion beyond a thing's original or normal limits. the bureaucracy swelled to unmanageable proportions distend implies outward extension caused by pressure from within. a distended abdomen inflate implies expanding by introduction of air or something insubstantial and suggests a vulnerability to sudden collapse. an inflated ego dilate applies especially to expansion of circumference. dilated pupils

Examples of expand in a Sentence

The liquid expands and contracts with changes in temperature. His business has expanded to serve the entire state. The coffee shop may expand into a full restaurant. He has expanded his business to serve the entire state. There are plans to expand the airport. The police have decided to expand their investigation. She plans to expand the lecture series into a book. Expand the abbreviation “deg.” to “degree.”
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Recent Examples on the Web

Rich Morley, executive director of Utah's American Leadership, said the Ways left Utah because Glenn Way wanted to expand his charter development company. Craig Harris, azcentral, "Arizona charter school founder makes millions building his own schools," 11 July 2018 Now, Glenmark wants to expand its operations and clinical portfolio. Hannah Lang, charlotteobserver, "After investing $100 million in NC, company finally gets OK to make new drug in the US," 3 July 2018 On Living His Truth As A Bisexual Rapper | Side Take To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that : 0%: 0% Ouai isn't the only human hair-care brand to expand into fur care. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Jen Atkin's Ouai Brand Is Launching Pet Shampoo," 2 July 2018 What’s more, the union will allow Alaska to expand across the country, so now everyone can experience its superiority. Anna Callaghan, Outside Online, "10 Reasons Why Alaska Airlines Is Our Favorite Carrier," 1 July 2018 Each tiny part of the slime mold contracts and expands over the course of about one minute, but the contraction rate is linked to the quality of the local environment. Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "Slime Molds Remember—But Do They Learn?," 14 July 2018 In the first three to 30 days post-infection, Lyme disease can cause a rash (this may expand and take the shape of a bull’s-eye as time passes), headache, fever, chills, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes, according to the CDC. Kate Sheridan, SELF, "Here’s Exactly What to Do if a Tick Bites You," 14 July 2018 The jokes of #BrettKavanaughScandals soon expanded to include specific jabs at CNN, at newsrooms, at journalists in general. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Brett Kavanaugh, Jim Jordan, and the Fog of the Partisan," 13 July 2018 Lucky’s is expanding and plans to open stores in the next 18 months in Dania Beach, Cooper City and in west Boca Raton. Doreen Christensen, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Dear Doreen's Deals: Locked-up carts at Aldi keep prices low; what's tax-free for back to school," 13 July 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for expand

Middle English expaunden, from Latin expandere, from ex- + pandere to spread — more at fathom

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Learn More about expand

Statistics for expand

Last Updated

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expand

The first known use of expand was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for expand



English Language Learners Definition of expand

: to increase in size, range, or amount : to become bigger

: to cause (something) to increase in size, range, or amount : to make (something) bigger

: to write (something) in full form


ex·​pand | \ik-ˈspand \
expanded; expanding

Kids Definition of expand

1 : to grow or increase in size, number, or amount The airport is expanding.

2 : to open wide : unfold The eagle's wings expanded.

3 : to take up or cause to take up more space Metals expand under heat.

4 : to speak or write about in greater detail Would you expand on that idea?

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Comments on expand

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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