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 increasable (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


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The new standards proposed by DPZ and Ball would increase it to 1,000 years. Erin B. Logan,, "Proposals to ease development’s impact on Ellicott City flooding draw opposition from industry," 17 Sep. 2019 All restaurant meals are already taxed at the 6.35 percent rate but that will increase to 7.35 percent under the changes beginning Oct. 1. Russell Blair,, "Gov. Ned Lamont asks for review of new tax on ice cream, pizza and other items sold at grocery stores," 17 Sep. 2019 But an analysis of federal data by the nonprofit National Complete Streets Coalition shows the number of pedestrians walking as part of their commute increased by less than 1% from 2009 to 2017. Los Angeles Times, "Pedestrians die every 90 minutes in the U.S., and low-income areas are hurt most," 16 Sep. 2019 West Texas crude, the U.S. benchmark, increased by about 8%. Tara Law, Time, "'Locked and Loaded,' the U.S. Blames Iran for a Drone Attack Against Saudi Arabia. Here's What to Know," 16 Sep. 2019 Carbon dioxide can also increase the allergy-causing effects of pollen. Emily Holden, Scientific American, "Climate Change Is Having Widespread Health Impacts," 16 Sep. 2019 According to a Minnesota Department of Health data analysis released in December, deaths by suicide increased by 5% in 2017 compared to 2016. Jill Wiedemann-west, Twin Cities, "Jill Wiedemann-West: Suicide is a public-health threat — but there are reasons to hope and ways to help," 15 Sep. 2019 The National Youth Tobacco Survey found that e-cigarette use among high-school pupils increased by 78% between 2017 and 2018, from 11.7% to 20.8%. The Economist, "A deadly outbreak casts a dark cloud over e-cigarettes," 14 Sep. 2019 Biden’s plan would increase subsidies on the Affordable Care Act marketplace and lower the premium limit on marketplace plans from 9.86 to 8.5 percent of annual income. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "Joe Biden Doesn’t Seem to Understand Health Care," 13 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One theory is that the rate spike could be a symptom of the sharp increase in Treasury bonds being issued to fund the federal government. Matt Egan, CNN, "A crack just emerged in the financial markets: The NY Fed spends $53 billion to rescue the overnight lending market," 17 Sep. 2019 Although carp are found throughout the river and adjoining tributaries, the channel cats are less in overall numbers, but appear to be on the increase from previous years and decades. Jim Gronaw,, "Gronaw: Finding the top-end bottom feeders," 15 Sep. 2019 Yet nearly half of the increase in the uninsured came from households making more than 400 percent of the poverty line. Karl W. Smith, Twin Cities, "Karl W. Smith: The good news about income inequality," 15 Sep. 2019 Rural counties, especially those areas that are more sparsely populated and offer limited economic and education opportunities, saw the greatest increases. Rita Giordano,, "Gun stores, isolation, and lack of hope fuel rise in U.S. suicides, study finds," 13 Sep. 2019 West Colfax Avenue and Speer Boulevard, where police held the news conference, have seen the most significant increases in traffic accidents and deaths in the city, Pazen said. James Burky, The Denver Post, "Denver police hire nine officers to enforce traffic safety and curb deaths," 13 Sep. 2019 Rural communities in western states as well as in Appalachia and the Ozarks saw the largest increases in suicide rates overall, the authors note. Reuters, The Mercury News, "Suicide on the rise in US – especially in rural areas," 12 Sep. 2019 According to the online real-estate marketplace Zillow, only about 7 percent of the California properties listed last year saw rent increases larger than allowed under the bill. Conor Dougherty, New York Times, "California Approves Statewide Rent Control to Ease Housing Crisis," 11 Sep. 2019 Generally speaking, all the major cities have seen incredible increases. Jeff Stein, Washington Post, "Trump pushing for major crackdown on homeless camps in California, with aides discussing moving residents to government-backed facilities," 10 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for increase

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for increase

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

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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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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

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to be made up of

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