ex·​pand | \ ik-ˈspand How to pronounce expand (audio) \
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 How to pronounce expandability (audio) \ noun
expandable \ ik-​ˈspan-​də-​bəl How to pronounce expandable (audio) \ 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

To do so would require cutting some members’ stakes in absolute terms, rather than merely freezing them as others expand. The Economist, "The choice of the IMF’s next boss could be a coronation," 12 July 2019 Walmart kicked off curbside grocery delivery in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2015 and expanded in 2016 with same-day home delivery of groceries. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Walmart expands from online groceries, adds next-day delivery of everything else in Texas," 11 July 2019 And then, when the rest of the nation raced ahead, industrializing and expanding at a breakneck pace, the South remained behind — the poorest American region, by far. David French, National Review, "The South Is a Pro-Life Stronghold," 11 July 2019 The greater fear is that Japan might expand the export controls to more products, increasing the potential for disruptions to regional and global supply chains. Washington Post, "Tensions over history, North keep Japan, South Korea at odds," 11 July 2019 Earlier attempts at expanding the acreage had fallen victim to disease, too. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "Why don’t we drink dessert wine?," 11 July 2019 In a call with investors this year, Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, said selling products for firstline workers expanded the market Microsoft could tap into. Karen Weise, New York Times, "You’re Hired. Now Wear This Headset to Learn the Job.," 10 July 2019 The areas affected by rainfall will persist into the weekend and expand westward. al.com, "Tropical storm in gulf could bring Louisiana 18 inches of rain," 10 July 2019 Out on a Limb celebrates diversity while entertaining and expanding the horizons of patrons and contributing to the cultural and economic growth of the community, according to the press release. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "Scripps Ranch Theatre hosting eighth annual play festival," 10 July 2019

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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Statistics for expand

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce expand (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on expand

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with expand

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for expand

Spanish Central: Translation of expand

Nglish: Translation of expand for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expand for Arabic Speakers

Comments on expand

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