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 Employers now must adjust the hourly rate to include the value of medical care and then multiply that by one and a half. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego paying out $3.4 million to 700 firefighters for underpaid overtime," 14 Oct. 2020 Negative Gs—unlike the positive which multiply a camera's weight—create weightlessness. James Joseph, Popular Mechanics, "Jetography: Photographing Fighter Jets at 40,000 Feet," 31 Dec. 2020 Takeout meals will multiply and food trucks will boom. Los Angeles Times, "Here’s what pandemic-era skiing and snowboarding will look like this winter," 25 Nov. 2020 Some are even harmful to the virus’s ability to multiply. Maya Wei-haas, Science, "Why new coronavirus variants 'suddenly arose' in the U.K. and South Africa," 23 Dec. 2020 In addition, Whitehurst said the bids on the more expensive items will not multiply as much as the ones for the less pricey objects. Washington Post, "Missing the Waldorf Astoria? Take home a piece of the historic NYC hotel.," 16 Oct. 2020 By the time the weather dries up again in June, the FAO estimates that the current population of desert locusts could multiply by a factor of 500. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Billions of Locusts Are Swarming East Africa," 5 Feb. 2020 Across Maryland and beyond, as coronavirus cases continue to multiply, health officials and political leaders have tightened the rules and guidelines around social events. Sanya Kamidi,, "‘You do what you can’: Celebrators tweak traditions to make the most of Thanksgiving as coronavirus numbers rise," 26 Nov. 2020 Under current law, judges can multiply an attorney’s fee if convinced that the case was particularly challenging or that the plaintiff would have been unable to obtain competent counsel if the possibility of multiplied legal fees didn’t exist. Ron Hurtibise,, "As property insurance costs skyrocket, lawmakers will consider these ideas to keep coverage affordable," 14 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Finally, multiply all three together, and that’s your average cost per day. Carsen Joenk, Popular Science, "Best space heater: Stay warm in every space, from the garage to the basement," 18 Feb. 2021 The scam jobs multiply so fast that few recruits stick to one beyond a few months. Snigdha Poonam, The Atlantic, "The People Profiting Off the Pandemic in India," 16 Jan. 2021 Take those monthly necessities and multiply by six. Emily Pandise, NBC News, "Want to set financial goals you can actually keep? Here are 7 easy ways to make it happen," 14 Jan. 2021 In fifth grade, students are expected to learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide with whole numbers, decimals and fractions. Washington Post, "Treehouse teaching and laundry art: Educators find creative ways to reach kids," 27 Nov. 2020 But her outfit, which had to go through a round of furloughs, also is seeing clients’ needs multiply, given how many businesses have transitioned to remote work. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "What Democrat Joe Biden’s presidency might mean for Texas businesses," 18 Dec. 2020 Yet as the explanations for this security lapse multiply, other questions are echoing louder in its wake. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "As Iran mulls retaliation for nuclear scientist's death, a riddle remains. What exactly was he working on?," 7 Dec. 2020 For example, miR1307 could turn on a gene in the virus that makes the virus multiply faster inside human bodies. Amanda Morris, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona researchers discover potential new genetic target against COVID-19 infections," 6 Dec. 2020 In 2020, multiply those needs exponentially because of the coronavirus pandemic. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, "NFL prospects getting second chance through Alumni Academy," 20 Nov. 2020

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

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Multiply.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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 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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