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

Journalists at El Faro in El Salvador, which was founded 20 years ago, recently started using tools like Google Analytics to understand and expand their audience. The Economist, "Latin America’s new media are growing up," 14 July 2018 Other scenarios involve moving and expanding magnet programs to redirect magnet students to schools with more space. Libby Solomon, baltimoresun.com, "Firm presents 7 scenarios to address Balto. Co. high school overcrowding; all include new Towson High," 13 July 2018 Any steep reduction, or outright suspension, of U.S. film imports could easily push China's annual box office growth into the red while also hurting local distributors and exhibitors, many of which are still aggressively expanding. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Will Hollywood Get Caught in Trump's China Trade War Crossfire?," 13 July 2018 Bubbles & Biz Networking Meet friends, expand contact base, the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month for happy hour, 5:45-7 p.m. $12-$15. Mary Lou Cruz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Sunrise area events July 18-28," 13 July 2018 They were paired with representatives from more than 300 Chinese businesses recruited as part of a 2013 agreement Chicago signed with eight major Chinese cities to improve trade and expand business. Bill Ruthhart, chicagotribune.com, "Who is in Asia with Emanuel? Campaign donors, lobbyists, developers, business heavyweights," 13 July 2018 Peters replaces former director State Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, who left her post as her responsibilities in the Kentucky General Assembly have expanded. Melissa Reinert, Cincinnati.com, "NKY Office of Drug Control Policy welcomes Amanda Peters as new director," 13 July 2018 San Diego is considering prohibiting a particularly ubiquitous plastic product: expanded polystyrene (EPS)—better known as styrofoam—which is used widely in takeout food containers, cups, ice chests, and packing peanuts. Camille Harmer, Fortune, "How Banning Plastic Straws Could Make Pollution Even Worse," 12 July 2018 The committee also recommended establishing or expanding community policing and outreach programs such as DARE and Watch D.O.G.S. in elementary schools. Shelby Webb, Houston Chronicle, "Clear Creek ISD security panel opts against metal detectors, armed teachers," 12 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

Phrases Related to expand

expand on/upon

Statistics for expand

Last Updated

8 Sep 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).


the setting in which something occurs

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