1 of 2


increased; increasing

intransitive verb

: to become progressively greater (as in size, amount, number, or intensity)
: to multiply by the production of young

transitive verb

: to make greater : augment
obsolete : enrich
in-ˈkrē-sə-bəl How to pronounce increase (audio)
increaser noun


2 of 2


: the act or process of increasing: such as
: addition or enlargement in size, extent, or quantity
obsolete : propagation
: something that is added to an original stock or amount by augmentation or growth (such as offspring, produce, profit)
on the increase
: becoming greater (as in size, number, or amount) : increasing
crime is on the increase
Choose the Right Synonym for increase

increase, enlarge, augment, multiply mean to make or become greater.

increase used intransitively implies progressive growth in size, amount, or intensity

his waistline increased with age

; used transitively it may imply simple not necessarily progressive addition.

increased her landholdings

enlarge implies expansion or extension that makes greater in size or capacity.

enlarged the kitchen

augment implies addition to what is already well grown or well developed.

the inheritance augmented his fortune

multiply implies increase in number by natural generation or by indefinite repetition of a process.

with each attempt the problems multiplied

Examples of increase in a Sentence

Verb The house increased in value. She increased her wealth substantially. Noun an increase in life expectancy The employees expect some increase in wages. The construction will probably cause some increase in traffic delays. The report showed increases of between 20 and 30 percent. an increase of three dollars See More
Recent Examples on the Web
By waiting to receive retirement benefits until after your full retirement age, your monthly benefit continues to increase. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2023 It is meant to increase the nutrition of low-income residents by supplementing their food costs. Brady Knox, Washington Examiner, 20 Sep. 2023 Initially, consultant firm Black & Veatch proposed increasing West Fork's sewer rates by 20% and Elkins' rates by 18%. Stacy Ryburn, Arkansas Online, 20 Sep. 2023 The aim of the summit is to increase ambitions on climate action, Guterres said. Rachel Ramirez, CNN, 20 Sep. 2023 It wouldn’t have been gone at 14 MLB stadiums, including Camden Yards, which altered its dimensions last season by moving the left field wall back almost 30 feet and increasing its height by 5 feet. Jacob Calvin Meyer, Baltimore Sun, 20 Sep. 2023 However, distracted by its continuing invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has been unable to keep the tensions under control as an emboldened Azerbaijan increased its foothold by putting the only road that links it with Armenia under its firm control. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, 20 Sep. 2023 Climate Week is a vestige of an earlier era, when climate was one of many issues competing for our attention and doing anything to increase public consciousness felt like important work. Liza Featherstone, The New Republic, 20 Sep. 2023 Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack sent joint letters to the governors of the states asking them to increase funding for these HBCUs. Melissa Noel, Essence, 20 Sep. 2023
The decision keeps the main borrowing cost for commercial banks in the United Kingdom at 5.25% — still the highest level since February 2008 following the longest-running series of successive increases in benchmark interest rates in at least a century. Hanna Ziady, CNN, 21 Sep. 2023 Economists had expected a 0.25 percentage point increase. Anna Hirtenstein, WSJ, 21 Sep. 2023 That represents a 60% increase from the daily average of 4,300 in July. Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, 21 Sep. 2023 Chula Vista had the second-largest number of people living on the streets at 318, a 54 percent increase from 2022, according to a January countywide count. Tammy Murga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Sep. 2023 Fain provoked this month’s historic UAW strike against automakers with his opening demand of 40 percent wage increases. Amity Shlaes, National Review, 20 Sep. 2023 The risk of uterine rupture increases with each C-section performed; most doctors will perform VBACs on people who had up to two prior C-sections.6 Had a low-transverse incision—a horizontal cut low in the uterus—during their previous C-section. Lisa Milbrand, Parents, 20 Sep. 2023 More than 5,100 travelers passed through Changi Airport in August, marking a significant increase from 2022 when just about 3,300 passengers traveled there during the same time period, according to the airport’s data. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 20 Sep. 2023 Between 2016 and 2022, congenital syphilis cases rose from 10 to 110, marking a 1,000% increase, according to a report from the John D. Bower School of Population Health at University of Mississippi Medical Center. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 20 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'increase.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English encresen, from Anglo-French encreistre, from Latin increscere, from in- + crescere to grow — more at crescent

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of increase was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near increase

Cite this Entry

“Increase.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
increased; increasing
: to make or become greater
increase speed
skill increases with practice
: to become more numerous by the production of young


2 of 2 noun
: the act of increasing
: something added (as by growth)

More from Merriam-Webster on increase

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