mag·​ni·​fy | \ ˈmag-nə-ˌfī How to pronounce magnify (audio) \
magnified; magnifying

Definition of magnify

transitive verb

1a : extol, laud while they magnified the art, they often belittled the artist— Havelock Ellis
b : to cause to be held in greater esteem or respect
2a : to increase in significance : intensify real drama … will use ugliness to magnify beauty— Alan Mickle
b : exaggerate magnifies every minor issue to crisis proportions
3 : to enlarge in fact or in appearance The lens magnified the image 100 times.

intransitive verb

: to have the power of causing objects to appear larger than they are a glass that magnifies greatly

Examples of magnify in a Sentence

The sound was magnified by the calm air. His failures have been magnified by the success of his friends. I don't want to magnify the importance of these problems. The lens magnified the image 100 times. a magnified view of the image
Recent Examples on the Web That’s especially true for women working at home in informal housing settlements, where low-cost, uninsulated roofs magnify heat. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Apr. 2022 And that is before one considers the emergence of AGI, which will simply magnify such figures. Naveen Joshi, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 While candidates throughout history have embraced some level of populist messaging, conditions today magnify its appeal. Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2022 When that occurs, the extreme curvature induced in the intervening spacetime can distort and magnify the background light through the process of gravitational lensing. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2021 This helps magnify her self-worth (e.g., having gender role models). Rittu Sinha, Forbes, 12 Apr. 2022 If anything, the program seemed to magnify his powers. Washington Post, 3 Mar. 2022 After an objection from Rittenhouse's defense attorney, Judge Bruce Schroeder said that was fine—as long as no one used the familiar pinch-and-zoom functionality to magnify the video. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, 24 Dec. 2021 The victory of the Black contestants' alliance proves these shows don't have to magnify our nation's worst animosities at the expense of persons of color. Neil J. Young, The Week, 29 Sep. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of magnify

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for magnify

Middle English magnifien, from Anglo-French magnifier, from Latin magnificare, from magnificus

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Time Traveler for magnify

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

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magnifying glass

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Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Magnify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for magnify


mag·​ni·​fy | \ ˈmag-nə-ˌfī How to pronounce magnify (audio) \
magnified; magnifying

Kids Definition of magnify

1 : to enlarge in fact or appearance A microscope magnifies an object seen through it.
2 : to cause to seem greater or more important : exaggerate The problem has been magnified by rumors.


mag·​ni·​fy | \ ˈmag-nə-ˌfī How to pronounce magnify (audio) \
magnified; magnifying

Medical Definition of magnify

transitive verb

: to enlarge in appearance

intransitive verb

: to have the power of causing objects to appear larger than they are

More from Merriam-Webster on magnify

Nglish: Translation of magnify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of magnify for Arabic Speakers


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