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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for multiply

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Now that static is multiplied, building into a steady noise which itself is louder because of the distance between the relatively safe harbor of school and the uncertainty of a city besieged by a silent killer. Eric Adelson, Detroit Free Press, "She's racing to help homeless kids — but can't reach them during pandemic," 16 May 2020 Add to this the fact that its software code is not open for independent security audits, the red flags multiply. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "The Indian government’s tech initiatives keep failing privacy benchmarks," 13 May 2020 The most loathed perennial weeds are often those that multiply by rhizomes — underground stem tissue laden with buds ready to sprout anew should any be left behind. Margaret Roach, New York Times, "The Dirty Secret About Weeding," 8 May 2020 Sprayed liberally onto household surfaces, these potent liquids will linger and persist, all while losing potency—a perfect storm for tenacious bacteria to grab a foothold and multiply. Katherine J. Wu, Popular Science, "Fight viruses in your home without making bacteria stronger," 4 Apr. 2020 Using these kinds of data for health surveillance could multiply the risk of privacy abuses, Freifeld says, especially when public health concerns conflict with confidentiality. Katherine Ellison, Scientific American, "Social Media Posts and Online Searches Hold Vital Clues about Pandemic Spread," 30 Mar. 2020 Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue, is his chief antagonist (although Joe’s enemies multiply as the seven-part series goes on). Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Bonkers Appeal of The Tiger King," 28 Mar. 2020 As windmills and solar panels multiply, the supply of renewable electricity sometimes exceeds demand. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Making commodity chemicals requires fossil fuels. New devices could do it with renewables," 4 May 2020 As silicon chips multiplied in power, miniaturized in size, and simplified the manufacturing of computers through the 1960s, engineers could already see just how far and wide the technology would spread into our workplaces, homes, and cars. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, "Electronics Account for 40 Percent of the Cost of a New Car," 2 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Chill: Refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours: Bacteria that cause food poisoning multiply quickest between 40 and 140 degrees, Check your refrigerator setting is should be set to 40 degrees or below and your freezer to 0 degrees or below. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "How to keep your groceries and take-out food safe from coronavirus," 30 Mar. 2020 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about multiply

Time Traveler for multiply

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for multiply

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Multiply.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on multiply

What made you want to look up multiply? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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