inflate

verb

in·​flate in-ˈflāt How to pronounce inflate (audio)
inflated; inflating

transitive verb

1
: to swell or distend with air or gas
2
: to puff up : elate
inflate one's ego
3
: to expand or increase abnormally or imprudently
inflator noun
or inflater
Choose the Right Synonym for inflate

expand, amplify, swell, distend, inflate, dilate mean to increase in size or volume.

expand may apply regardless of the manner of increase (such as growth, unfolding, addition of parts).

a business that expands every year

amplify implies the extension or enlargement of something inadequate.

amplify the statement with details

swell implies gradual expansion beyond a thing's original or normal limits.

the bureaucracy swelled to unmanageable proportions

distend implies outward extension caused by pressure from within.

a distended abdomen

inflate implies expanding by introduction of air or something insubstantial and suggests a vulnerability to sudden collapse.

an inflated ego

dilate applies especially to expansion of circumference.

dilated pupils

Example Sentences

We used a pump to inflate the raft. Economists warn that rapid economic growth could inflate prices. Increased competition has inflated salaries among professional athletes. Rapid economic growth may cause prices to inflate.
Recent Examples on the Web For many, the fun started yesterday as crowds gathered all day to watch the balloons inflate. CBS News, 24 Nov. 2022 Court documents allege that the two men knew these claims to be false and used the plan to boost subscriber numbers and inflate HMNY’s stock price while losing money. Jennifer Korn, CNN, 6 Nov. 2022 All that kit helped inflate our test car's curb weight to 3552 pounds, some 151 pounds more than the aforementioned manual version. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, 1 Nov. 2022 However, Shore said the ballot question could inflate the cost of dental care for everyone. Jessica Bartlett, BostonGlobe.com, 25 Oct. 2022 Vets and their technicians require advanced training to deliver such sophisticated services, which also can further inflate costs and the prices paid by consumers. Christopher Rugaber, Chicago Tribune, 12 Oct. 2022 Vets and their technicians require advanced training to deliver such sophisticated services, which also can further inflate costs and the prices paid by consumers. Christopher Rugaber, Fortune, 12 Oct. 2022 Thus, if people died of undocumented COVID-19 cases shortly after their first dose—which does not offer full protection—that could easily inflate risk of death during the study, which spanned the height of the pandemic. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 11 Oct. 2022 Does the hype over its scarcity inflate the reputation of an albeit excellent bourbon? Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 18 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inflate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Latin inflatus, past participle of inflare, from in- + flare to blow — more at blow

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of inflate was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near inflate

Cite this Entry

“Inflate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inflate. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

inflate

verb

in·​flate in-ˈflāt How to pronounce inflate (audio)
inflated; inflating
1
: to swell or fill with air or gas
inflate a balloon
2
: to increase abnormally
inflated prices
inflatable
-ə-bəl
adjective

Medical Definition

inflate

verb

in·​flate in-ˈflāt How to pronounce inflate (audio)
inflated; inflating

transitive verb

: to swell or distend with air or gas
inflate the lungs
inflation noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ