\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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Like Sonia's, Kelly's effort involves more than simply growing potatoes or carrots: Local children help plant, tend, and sell the veggies, with proceeds going into a savings account for each participating child. Tracy Saelinger, Woman's Day, "Gardening Led This Veteran to a New Life of Hope and Healing," 11 July 2018 In recent years, that thinking has shifted in some parts of the scientific community as a growing body of evidence suggests study participants want to know what researchers find. Megan Thielking, STAT, "National Academies panel urges researchers to routinely share test results with study participants," 10 July 2018 Since launching in 1995, the store has grown into a staple that sells literally everything. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "How to Know if Amazon Prime Is Truly Worth It for You and Your Family," 10 July 2018 And since then, Lonzo’s wristband tattoo has continued to grow into a half-sleeve. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Lonzo Ball's tattoo continues to grow even after LaVar's tantrum," 8 July 2018 Their three main projects at the moment are a documentary film, a stage show, and footwork summer camps-all intended to tell the story of footwork, to grow the community, and to pass footwork along to the next generation. Anna White, Chicago Reader, "Hip-Hop / Music Chicago's footwork community takes center stage at the MCA," 6 July 2018 Yet as corruption continues to factor into almost all economic transactions here, the clamor for change keeps growing. Max Bearak, Washington Post, "Kenyans have had it with corruption. Their leaders may finally be doing something about it.," 13 July 2018 So top executives at tech firms who are compensated for helping significantly grow companies make the ranks but not second generation women running family businesses. Megan Friedman, Marie Claire, "Forbes Called Kylie Jenner a ‘Self-Made’ Multimillionaire, and Twitter Has Concerns," 11 July 2018 United We Dream currently has over 400,000 members and an online reach of over 4 million and growing; meanwhile, Jiménez noted, polls show that most Americans support DACA and oppose family separations at the border. Abigail Simon, Time, "'Yes, We Can Change the World.' How One Activist is Fighting for Immigration Reform," 13 July 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.

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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

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Statistics for grow

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grow

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

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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

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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).


lying above or upon

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