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
Recent Examples on the Web
Progressive jackpot increases each time the game is played until it is won. Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2024 Hospitalizations also increased 13% during the same time frame. Sabine Martin, The Arizona Republic, 10 July 2024
Wage growth in China overall has slowed from around 10% annual increases prior to the pandemic, to 4% in recent years, according to Goldman Sachs analysis published last month. Evelyn Cheng, CNBC, 11 July 2024 The company has received approvals for several rate increases in recent years, including most recently a 4% bump in 2023. Laurence Darmiento, Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for increase 

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 18 Jul. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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