mul·​ti·​ply | \ˈməl-tə-ˌplī \
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

b : breed, propagate

2 : to perform multiplication


mul·​ti·​ply | \-plē \

Definition of multiply (Entry 2 of 3)

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


mul·​ti-ply | \ˌməl-tē-ˈplī, -ˌtī-\

Definition of multi-ply (Entry 3 of 3)

: composed of several plies

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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


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

Since her relocation, Wavy’s stacks of silver rings and traditional African beaded jewelry have multiplied, thanks to the Nigerian affinity for accessories. Whitney Wei, Vogue, "The Artist Behind Nigeria’s Newest Dance Anthem Has Crazy Style," 5 Nov. 2018 By the Financial Times’ estimate, Michael Dell’s original $4 billion investment has multiplied into one worth $32 billion. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "How Michael Dell played the game and saved his company from the brink," 13 Aug. 2018 Populations of the itch-inducing insects have multiplied across Maryland — in many areas up to three times their normal early summer numbers — because of recent storms and flooding that have given them an abundance of water to breed in. Scott Dance, Washington Post, "Mosquitoes are at three times their normal number in Maryland this summer," 5 July 2018 Populations of the itch-inducing insects have multiplied across Maryland — in many areas up to three times their normal early summer numbers — because of recent storms and flooding that have given them an abundance of water to breed in. Scott Dance,, "Dealing with more bug bites than usual? Mosquitos are at 3 times their normal number in Maryland this summer.," 5 July 2018 Over the last 32 years, the surviving pups have multiplied, creating a community of hundreds that live in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and another 250 that live on the grounds of the former power plant itself. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Chernobyl Puppies Going Up for Adoption in the U.S.," 16 May 2018 When a worker leaves a factory, her power to create wealth stops being multiplied. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, "Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?," 7 May 2018 Indeed, actual damages under the FCA are automatically multiplied by three, or trebled. Michael Mccann,, "Was It the Right Decision for Lance Armstrong to Settle in His Lawsuit With the U.S. Government?," 21 Apr. 2018 Since buying that first white suit, Hudgens' personal collection has multiplied. Ana Colón, Glamour, "Vanessa Hudgens, Queen of Boho, Designed Some Very Chic Suits," 11 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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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Learn More about multiply

Statistics for multiply

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for multiply

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

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More Definitions for multiply



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 \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on multiply

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with multiply

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for multiply

Spanish Central: Translation of multiply

Nglish: Translation of multiply for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of multiply for Arabic Speakers

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).


to enclose within walls

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