mul·​ti·​ply | \ ˈməl-tə-ˌplī How to pronounce multiply (audio) \
multiplied; multiplying

Definition of multiply

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to increase in number especially greatly or in multiples : augment
2a : to find the product of by multiplication multiply 7 and 8
b : to use as a multiplicand in multiplication with another number multiply 7 by 8

intransitive verb

1a : to become greater in number : spread
2 : to perform multiplication


mul·​ti·​ply | \ ˈməl-tə-plē How to pronounce multiply (audio) \

Definition of multiply (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a multiple manner : in several ways multiply talented children


mul·​ti-ply | \ ˌməl-tē-ˈplī How to pronounce multi-ply (audio) , -ˌtī- \

Definition of multi-ply (Entry 3 of 3)

: composed of several plies

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Synonyms for multiply

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for multiply


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 multiply in a Sentence

Verb Complaints about the new procedure soon multiplied. Her responsibilities multiplied when she was promoted. Her responsibilities were multiplied by the promotion. The bacteria multiply rapidly in warm, moist conditions. The teacher taught the children how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Coronavirus misinformation has stoked xenophobia, created relentless demand (and considerable profit) for products that are unlikely to help anyone, added considerable confusion to an already uncertain situation, and has only continued to multiply. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Are a Public Health Hazard," 27 Mar. 2020 But as lawmakers scramble to get the legislation to President Trump, the pandemic’s toll continues to multiply. Thomas Heath, Washington Post, "U.S. markets signal steep fall after three straight days of gains," 27 Mar. 2020 Covid-19, by contrast, is a problem that has so far only multiplied and metastasized. Matt Vella, Quartz, "Big Tech has exactly one job to do in a pandemic," 26 Mar. 2020 From coronavirus cases exponentially multiplying across the U.S. to doctors falling sick, the daily headlines are gut-wrenching and overwhelming. Alison Medley, Houston Chronicle, "Here are 15 positive updates amid grim reports regarding COVID-19," 26 Mar. 2020 But officials across the country are preparing to face the same dilemma seen in Italy as cases continue to multiply and available resources deplete. Adrienne Dunn, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Were elderly Italians left to die? And is socialized health care to blame?," 20 Mar. 2020 Christopher Miller for The New York Times As cases of the coronavirus continue to multiply in China, and concerns about the disease have led travelers to cancel upcoming trips to other Asian countries, tourism officials in Alaska see an opportunity. Tariro Mzezewa, New York Times, "Alaska Tourism Officials See an Opportunity in Coronavirus," 27 Feb. 2020 Oil prices fell Monday and gold rose to a seven-year high as the number of coronavirus cases outside China continued to multiply. David Hodari, WSJ, "Oil Slumps, Gold Rises as Coronavirus Outbreak Spreads in Europe," 24 Feb. 2020 Cases in China continue to multiply, and 5 million residents of Wuhan, where the virus originated, already have left the city, some of them surely carrying the disease. Anchorage Daily News, "Can the coronavirus be contained? Unknowns complicate response.," 29 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Next up as guest artists is a series of adventurous, multiply talented musicians including Matana Roberts and Darius Jones (July 19); Nico Muhly (Aug. 2); and John Zorn (Aug. 9). New York Times, "He Turned the Met Museum’s Collection Into an Orchestra," 16 July 2019 While recriminations and lawsuits multiply over the event’s now-infamous collapse, almost $1 million is still unaccounted for, and it’s unclear exactly how the rest was spent. Polly Mosendz,, "Fyre Festival Was Buried Under Millions in Debt Before It Even Began," 15 May 2017 Multiply that prosecutor times hundreds of lawyers working against Trump’s proposals, thousands of journalists covering his every move, and millions of detractors across the country and globe, and the research becomes almost instantaneous. Mario Nicolais, The Denver Post, "Trump vs. Trump," 16 June 2017 At that same awards show, Blunt presented his pal with the Diamond Award to recognize the success of Ed's album x (Multiply) in Australia. Emilee Lindner, Billboard, "Ed Sheeran & James Blunt: A Timeline of Their Friendship," 7 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'multiply.' 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 multiply


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1881, in the meaning defined above


1926, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for multiply


Middle English multiplien, from Anglo-French multiplier, from Latin multiplicare, from multiplic-, multiplex multiple

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Time Traveler for multiply

Time Traveler

The first known use of multiply was in the 13th century

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Statistics for multiply

Last Updated

31 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Multiply.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for multiply


How to pronounce multi-ply (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of multiply

: to increase greatly in number or amount : to become much more numerous
: to cause (something) to increase greatly in number or amount
: to increase in number by reproducing


mul·​ti·​ply | \ ˈməl-tə-ˌplī How to pronounce multiply (audio) \
multiplied; multiplying

Kids Definition of multiply

1 : to increase in number : make or become more numerous His worries multiplied.
2 : to find the product of by means of multiplication Multiply 7 by 8.

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