in·​crease | \ in-ˈkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) , ˈin-ˌkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) \
increased; increasing

Definition of increase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to become progressively greater (as in size, amount, number, or intensity)
2 : to multiply by the production of young

transitive verb

1 : to make greater : augment
2 obsolete : enrich


in·​crease | \ ˈin-ˌkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) , in-ˈkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) \

Definition of increase (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or process of increasing: such as
a : addition or enlargement in size, extent, or quantity
b obsolete : propagation
2 : something that is added to an original stock or amount by augmentation or growth (such as offspring, produce, profit)
on the increase
: becoming greater (as in size, number, or amount) : increasing crime is on the increase

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Other Words from increase


increasable \ in-​ˈkrē-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce increase (audio) , ˈin-​ˌkrē-​ \ adjective
increaser noun

Choose the Right Synonym for increase


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 increase in a Sentence

Verb The house increased in value. She increased her wealth substantially. Noun an increase in life expectancy The employees expect some increase in wages. The construction will probably cause some increase in traffic delays. The report showed increases of between 20 and 30 percent. an increase of three dollars
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Beckloff found that the environmental review failed to buttress its conclusion that the project would not significantly increase the risk of wildfire in a region prone to wildfires. Los Angeles Times, "Citing high wildfire risk, judge halts construction of massive Tejon Ranch development," 8 Apr. 2021 Many are due to motor vehicle accidents or other accidental deaths, but long-term alcohol use does increase the risk for some types of heart disease (especially heart failure), liver disease and cancers. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, "Dear Doctor: How bad is the cancer risk from my heavy drinking?," 7 Apr. 2021 The failing of the fuel pump could lead to a vehicle stalling and increase the risk of a crash. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "Honda, Acura Recall 628K Vehicles for Defective Fuel Pumps," 31 Mar. 2021 Ferguson's lawyers also argued that their client suffers from significant medical conditions, including a lung injury stemming from once being shot in the chest, that increase his risk while being incarcerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Kilpatrick pal Bobby Ferguson seeks prison release: Mayor got out, so should I," 30 Mar. 2021 Some work in jobs that increase their risk, others not so much. Zeynep Tufekci, The Atlantic, "The Fourth Surge Is Upon Us. This Time, It’s Different.," 30 Mar. 2021 The new phase includes all Marylanders ages 16 and older with underlying conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 illness, and people with disabilities. Alison Knezevich,, "Nearly 1 million more Marylanders are now eligible for COVID vaccines. Here’s who’s covered by Phase 2B.," 30 Mar. 2021 Unfortunately, this often leads to imbalanced nutrition and a weaker immune system, which can increase the risk of disease and infection. Angela Watson,, "Foods that boost the immune system," 27 Mar. 2021 Could more pollen in the air increase your risk for coronavirus infection? Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Parma police investigate death of 5-year-old boy: Overnight News Links," 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After riding a high of taking the program to new heights, Yeaney began her rehab process and players like Grace Berger saw their roles increase. Stefan Krajisnik, The Indianapolis Star, "IU women seek first Final Four, but will need to beat a familiar face to get there," 28 Mar. 2021 After a steady decline in child cases over the past two months, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association reported this week a slight increase in cases was reported last week. Arielle Mitropoulos, ABC News, "Why a 4th COVID-19 wave may look different than previous surges," 28 Mar. 2021 Last year, 285 organizations went through the process, with more than 80,000 employees surveyed, and 150 winners were recognized, an increase over previous years based on the number of surprisingly positive surprises., "Nominations open for 2021 Top Places to Work," 28 Mar. 2021 Climate damages will reduce this welfare increase to 434%. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Fed’s Shabby Green Logic," 27 Mar. 2021 Since 2009, Arkansas has seen a 58 percent increase in use of the federal HTC, reducing Arkansans' federal income tax liability and keeping more dollars at home. Arkansas Online, "COLUMNIST: A bill with some credit behind it," 27 Mar. 2021 The university is planning a massive rent increase across all its graduate-school housing in October. Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union-Tribune, "UCSD grad students poised for rent strike as campus housing costs skyrocket," 27 Mar. 2021 Business groups and Republican lawmakers, who supported the 2017 tax cuts, predict that any tax increase will slow economic growth and undermine the competitiveness of U.S. companies. Jim Tankersley And Emily Cochrane New York Times, Star Tribune, "Under Biden, Democrats poised to raise taxes on businesses and the rich," 27 Mar. 2021 The utility posted a nearly one-third increase in profit in 2020 despite a significant number of storms. Stephen Singer,, "Eversource gave its CEO a pay raise last year, but froze it due to ‘hardships’ of customers during the pandemic and Tropical Storm Isaias; total compensation was $14.6 million," 27 Mar. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for increase


Middle English encresen, from Anglo-French encreistre, from Latin increscere, from in- + crescere to grow — more at crescent

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Learn More about increase

Time Traveler for increase

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for increase

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Increase.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for increase



English Language Learners Definition of increase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to become larger or greater in size, amount, number, etc.
: to make (something) larger or greater in size, amount, number, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of increase (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of becoming larger or of making something larger or greater in size, amount, number, etc.
: the amount by which something is made larger or greater


in·​crease | \ in-ˈkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) \
increased; increasing

Kids Definition of increase

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make or become greater Skill increases with practice.


in·​crease | \ ˈin-ˌkrēs How to pronounce increase (audio) \

Kids Definition of increase (Entry 2 of 2)

: an addition or enlargement in size, extent, or quantity He received a pay increase.

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