in·​crease | \in-ˈkrēs, ˈin-ˌkrēs \
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, in-ˈkrēs \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from increase


increasable \in-​ˈkrē-​sə-​bəl, 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


The house increased in value. She increased her wealth substantially.


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: Verb

Having a family history of heart disease increases your risk of developing it. Korin Miller, SELF, "This Healthy, Experienced Runner Had a Heart Attack During the New York City Marathon," 10 Dec. 2018 The value of households’ real estate increased by about $298.4 billion. Harriet Torry, WSJ, "U.S. Household Net Worth Rose by $2.07 Trillion in 3rd Quarter," 6 Dec. 2018 The number of lawyers in the United States has increased by 15 percent over the past decade. James Atlas, Town & Country, "The Year of the Celebrity Super Lawyer," 3 Dec. 2018 The obsession is justifiable: Their milk is loaded with lactic acid, a dermatological wonder that gently exfoliates, can help reduce signs of aging like spots and sallowness, and can increase skin’s ability to retain moisture. Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire, "Goat Milk Is the Secret to Beautiful Skin," 29 Nov. 2018 Denver to Paris will increase to three weekly flights (up from two). Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Norwegian Air's New Flights Make It Easier (and Cheaper) to Get to Europe This Summer," 28 Nov. 2018 Indeed, increasing shareholder returns has been one of Johnson’s strategic priorities. Benjamin Romano, The Seattle Times, "Starbucks laying off 350 people, mostly at Seattle headquarters," 13 Nov. 2018 Social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook are under increasing scrutiny, particularly in the wake of a government probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Fox News, "Twitter brings in anti-Trump academics to combat intolerance," 2 Oct. 2018 Reports of hate crimes in the United States increased by 17% in Donald Trump’s first year of presidency, compared with the previous year, according to the FBI. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Reported Hate Crimes Rose 17% During Donald Trump's First Year in Office, According to the FBI," 14 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Related Because of this investment style, companies that sell convertible debt often see an increase in investors selling their stock short—borrowing shares and selling them, hoping to buy them back later at a lower price. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "Rising Rates Revitalize Convertible-Bond Sales," 10 Dec. 2018 On the flip side, an increase in body fat can also alter your estrogen levels, causing a late period. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "8 Reasons for a Late Period Besides Pregnancy, According to an OB/GYN," 30 Nov. 2018 An increase in risk makes for less of a deterrent to North Korean misbehavior, since the North would know the U.S. is that much less likely to intervene. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Doesn’t Want a No-Fly Zone Over the Korean DMZ. Here’s Why.," 18 Oct. 2018 Below, just some of the unique destinations from around the world that have seen double-digit increase in visitors. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Where Should You Go in 2019? These Global Destinations Are Officially on the Rise," 26 Sep. 2018 But the failure has triggered an overhaul in Army recruiting, including an increase in recruiters, expanded marketing and a new effort to reach out to young, potential recruits through popular online gaming. Fox News, "Army misses 2018 recruiting goal," 24 Sep. 2018 Ariana Grande's ponytail is iconic, inspiring an increase in extension sales and serving as her signature look. Lauren Rearick, Allure, "Ariana Grande's Ponytail Height Always Matches Her Mood, Says Hairstylist Chris Appleton," 24 Aug. 2018 While the service seems to all but guarantee timely delivery, experts say shoppers should still plan to purchase holiday gifts and send their packages early as an increase in online sales is likely to clog delivery networks. Holly Shively, The Seattle Times, "Major bump in online shopping could lead to holiday shipping delays," 20 Nov. 2018 That's a massive increase from the 2,811 new registrations in September and 951 in August. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Taylor Swift's Political Post Was Followed by a Huge Surge in Voter Registration," 9 Oct. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about increase

Statistics for increase

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for increase

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
increased; increasing

Kids Definition of increase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make or become greater Skill increases with practice.


in·​crease | \ˈin-ˌkrēs \

Kids Definition of increase (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on increase

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for increase

Spanish Central: Translation of increase

Nglish: Translation of increase for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of increase for Arabic Speakers

Comments on increase

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


a nest or breeding place

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!