in·​crease | \ in-ˈkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) , ˈin-ˌkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) \
increased; increasing

Definition of increase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

1 : to make greater : augment
2 obsolete : enrich


in·​crease | \ ˈin-ˌkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) , in-ˈkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) \

Definition of increase (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or process of increasing: such as
a : addition or enlargement in size, extent, or quantity
b obsolete : propagation
2 : 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

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Other Words from increase


increasable \ in-​ˈkrē-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce increase (audio) , ˈin-​ˌkrē-​ \ adjective
increaser noun

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In July, the U.N. estimated that the poverty rate would increase from 55 percent to 68 percent as a result of the pandemic. Saphora Smith, NBC News, "U.S. forces begin withdrawing from Afghanistan, a nation torn by war, poverty and angst," 2 May 2021 The relief package enacted in March, known as the American Rescue Plan, is expected to increase the national debt as a share of the economy to 108% for the 2021 fiscal year, from 102% before it was enacted, according to the CRFB. Kate Davidson, WSJ, "Biden’s Plan to Spend $4.5 Trillion Without Boosting Deficits Depends on Factors Beyond His Control," 2 May 2021 Cuomo said on Friday that New York City can increase indoor dining to 75% of capacity starting May 7. David Koenig, Star Tribune, "Number of Americans fully vaccinated tops 100 million," 30 Apr. 2021 The Akron RubberDucks will be able to increase capacity to 47% for games in May at Canal Park. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Akron RubberDucks increase seating capacity at Canal Park with ‘Responsible Reopening’ plan," 29 Apr. 2021 The limited availability of homes and the soaring costs of raw materials for new construction have caused home prices to increase to record levels. Andrea Ruth, Washington Examiner, "Buying or building a home continues to get costlier," 29 Apr. 2021 Two weeks after 60% have gotten their first dose, sports stadiums and banquet halls can increase capacity to 25%, gyms can go up to 50% and an 11 p.m. curfew on indoor dining will be lifted. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, "Michigan unveils reopening plan tied to COVID-19 vaccination rates," 29 Apr. 2021 President Joe Biden signed an executive order Tuesday to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for federal contractors, providing a pay bump to hundreds of thousands of workers. Josh Boak, ajc, "Biden signs $15 minimum wage for federal contract workers," 28 Apr. 2021 Wing prices typically increase in the run-up to the Super Bowl before returning to more normal levels, Chicago-area restaurant owners said. Lauren Zumbach,, "Wing night specials scarce as restaurants face tight supply, higher prices for the takeout-friendly comfort food," 28 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Preliminarily, health department data shows 153 total new cases last week for an increase of seven over the week before. Bob Blubaugh,, "Carroll County reports slight uptick in COVID-19 cases, another death," 3 May 2021 The number of people who are hospitalized in Ohio facilities with COVID-19 is 1,140, a net increase of 40 from Sunday when considering discharges and admissions. Laura Hancock, cleveland, "Just 995 new coronavirus cases reported in Ohio: Monday update," 3 May 2021 According to state news agency Xinhua, nearly 18.83 million passenger trips were made on Chinese railways on Saturday, an increase of 9.2% on 2019. James Griffiths, CNN, "A Chinese Communist Party-linked account mocked India's Covid crisis on social media. It backfired," 3 May 2021 The 2020 Census figures show that the nation’s population as of April 1, 2020, was 332 million, an increase of what percentage since the previous Census? Kathy Laskowski,, "Test your knowledge of current events with our news quiz for the week of April 25," 2 May 2021 The Arkansas Department of Health reported 243 new covid cases Saturday, an increase of 59 from the total added the previous Saturday. Tess Vrbin, Arkansas Online, "Active covid cases in state rise back above 2,000," 1 May 2021 Anderson recommended the increase of $90 a month per family, and state senators said that would cost about $2.8 million a year. Emily Wagster Pettus, Star Tribune, "Mississippi welfare payments increasing 3 months early," 30 Apr. 2021 Second quarter sales are forecast at $110 billion to $116 billion, an increase of 24% or 30%, compared to a year ago. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Consumer spending, streaming propel Amazon to second straight quarter of more than $100B in revenue," 30 Apr. 2021 The pandemic accelerated the shift of ad dollars to Google, Facebook and Amazon as the trio also benefited from an increase of new small businesses that typically rely largely on digital ads. Suzanne Vranica, WSJ, "Ad Spending Jumps as Google, Facebook and Other Digital Players Ride Economic Rebound," 30 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'increase.' 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 increase


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for increase


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

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Time Traveler for increase

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for increase

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Increase.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for increase



English Language Learners Definition of increase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to become larger or greater in size, amount, number, etc.
: to make (something) larger or greater in size, amount, number, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of increase (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of becoming larger or of making something larger or greater in size, amount, number, etc.
: the amount by which something is made larger or greater


in·​crease | \ in-ˈkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) \
increased; increasing

Kids Definition of increase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make or become greater Skill increases with practice.


in·​crease | \ ˈin-ˌkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) \

Kids Definition of increase (Entry 2 of 2)

: an addition or enlargement in size, extent, or quantity He received a pay increase.

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Comments on increase

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