\ˈgrō \
grew\ˈgrü \; grown\ˈgrōn \; growing

Definition of grow 

intransitive verb

1a : to spring up and develop to maturity

b : to be able to grow in some place or situation trees that grow in the tropics

c : to assume some relation through or as if through a process of natural growth ferns growing from the rocks

2a : to increase in size by assimilation of material into the living organism or by accretion of material in a nonbiological process (such as crystallization) The tree grew to an immense size.

b : increase, expand grows in wisdom

3 : to develop from a parent source the book grew out of a series of lectures

4a : to pass into a condition : become grew pale

b : to have an increasing influence habit grows on a person

c : to become increasingly acceptable or attractive didn't like it at first, but it grew on him

transitive verb

1a : to cause to grow grow wheat

b : to let grow on the body grew a beard

2 : to promote the development of start a business and grow it successfully— J. L. Deckter

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from grow

grower \ˈgrō(-​ə)r \ noun
growingly \ˈgrō-​iŋ-​lē \ adverb

Is grow a transitive verb?

Some people feel queasy when encountering grow used transitively (as in “grow the economy”). While it may grate on the ears of many, grow has existed as a transitive verb for hundreds of years, initially in relation to such things as crops, then to facial hair and the like, and finally to a small variety of other things (such as a business or the economy). The transitive form of grow sounds peculiar to many people, and you may certainly avoid using it, but it is wrong to state, as some do, that it is always improper or that it does not exist.

Examples of grow in a Sentence

The city is growing rapidly. The list of chores to do this weekend keeps growing. She grew intellectually and emotionally in her first year at college. It's wonderful to see how she has grown as a person since going to college. It can be hard to watch our children change as they grow. He's still just a growing boy.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Then in 2014, Congress passed legislation that approved small pilot programs for growing hemp, though to do so, farmers still needed approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Growing hemp is about to be legal for the first time in nearly a century," 30 Nov. 2018 But there have been signs of growing interest in the topic within the GOP. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Google CEO Sundar Pichai will face lawmakers at a hearing next week," 28 Nov. 2018 Why this matters: Raspberry Pi has grown from a niche enthusiast company to one of the best-selling PC’s of all time. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "A new Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ has arrived with Bluetooth 4.2 and dual-band Wi-Fi for $25," 15 Nov. 2018 This season of The Voice has been an exciting one, and audiences have grown to love contestants like 13-year-old Kennedy Holmes and Chicago native SandyRedd. Temi Adebowale, Country Living, "'The Voice’ Contestant Cody Ray Raymond’s Shocking Exit Sparks Outrage Among Fans," 30 Oct. 2018 Forest Service Director Jim Karels said the danger grows as the debris dries. Fox News, "Missing Florida woman's body recovered amid rubble," 19 Oct. 2018 The controversy over the deal didn’t really seem to grow worse on Wednesday. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook has a growing morale problem," 15 Nov. 2018 With Pre-Fall around the corner and the Fall 2019 shows not far behind—and the sustainable movement growing by the day—now’s the time for designers to experiment and get involved. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Is Faux Leather Even Better Than the Real Thing? These 3 Designers Say Yes," 8 Nov. 2018 Rather than desensitize soldiers to bad experiences, Boulder Crest helps them grow from their trauma—showing them how their worst experiences can become a catalyst for turning their lives around. Jim Rendon, Marie Claire, "When Female Veterans Return Home," 29 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of grow

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for grow

Middle English, from Old English grōwan; akin to Old High German gruowan to grow

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about grow

Statistics for grow

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grow

The first known use of grow was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for grow



English Language Learners Definition of grow

: to become larger : to increase in size, amount, etc.

: to become better or improved in some way : to become more developed, mature, etc.

: to become larger and change from being a child to being an adult as time passes : to pass from childhood to adulthood


\ˈgrō \
grew\ˈgrü \; grown\ˈgrōn \; growing

Kids Definition of grow

1 : to spring up and develop to maturity

2 : to be able to live and develop Most algae grow in water.

3 : to be related in some way by reason of growing The tree branches have grown together.

4 : increase entry 1, expand The city is growing rapidly.

5 : become sense 1 Grandma is growing old.

6 : to cause to grow : raise I grow tomatoes.

grow on

: to become more appealing over time

grow up

: to become an adult

Other Words from grow

grower noun


\ˈgrō \
grew\ˈgrü \; grown\ˈgrōn \; growing

Medical Definition of grow 

intransitive verb

1a : to spring up and develop to maturity

b : to be able to grow in some place or situation

c : to assume some relation through or as if through a process of natural growth the cut edges of the wound grew together

2 : to increase in size by addition of material by assimilation into the living organism or by accretion in a non-biological process (as crystallization)

transitive verb

: to cause to grow grew bacteria in culture

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on grow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grow

Spanish Central: Translation of grow

Nglish: Translation of grow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of grow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on grow

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


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!