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 expand (audio) \ noun
expandable \ ik-​ˈspan-​də-​bəl How to pronounce expand (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 Testing was initially slow to expand, and even then, the ill faced miles-long lines in their cars. Jonathan Levin, Fortune, "Local officials resort to party-invite sites for vaccine rollout," 5 Jan. 2021 Some members of Cleveland City Council want to expand a popular program that helps elderly homeowners stay in their houses. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Expansion urged for program that helps elderly, disabled Cleveland homeowners make repairs," 31 Dec. 2020 Microsoft looked to expand its Teams program from an enterprise communication platform to one that also did business video meetings. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Top tech of the year: Zoom as 'poster child for 2020'," 29 Dec. 2020 But Lake is not in the first round of counties to expand its vaccination program. John Cutter, orlandosentinel.com, "When can seniors in Lake get COVID-19 vaccine?," 24 Dec. 2020 While the county would like to have countywide vote centers, Phillips said lawmakers had tried to expand the program twice before and failed. James Barragán, Dallas News, "Carrollton Democrat proposes changing Texas law to let Denton have countywide vote centers," 10 Dec. 2020 Medical staff will contact people to arrange appointments, and most will have to wait until next year before there is enough vaccine to expand the program. The Associated Press, NOLA.com, "UK administers 1st coronavirus vaccine shot, prioritizing people older than 80," 8 Dec. 2020 The government has plans to expand the Happy Seeder program next year and cover the whole of the Punjab rice belt by 2023, Mr. Aslam noted. Rina Saeed Khan, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Pakistan, a 'Happy' solution to curb crop burning takes off," 8 Dec. 2020 Medical staff will contact people to arrange appointments, and most will have to wait until next year before there is enough vaccine to expand the program. Danica Kirka, Anchorage Daily News, "90-year-old gets first shot as Britain launches West’s first mass vaccination effort," 8 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for expand

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for expand

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Expand.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expand. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for expand


How to pronounce expand (audio)

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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Comments on expand

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