proliferate

play
verb pro·lif·er·ate \prə-ˈli-fə-ˌrāt\

Definition of proliferate

proliferated

;

proliferating

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to grow by rapid production of new parts, cells, buds, or offspring

  3. 2 :  to increase in number as if by proliferating :  multiply

  4. transitive verb
  5. 1 :  to cause to grow by proliferating

  6. 2 :  to cause to increase in number or extent as if by proliferating

proliferation

play \-ˌli-fə-ˈrā-shən\ noun

proliferative

play play \-ˈli-fə-ˌrā-tiv, -f(ə-)rə-tiv\ adjective

proliferate was our Word of the Day on 03/11/2009. Hear the podcast!

Examples of proliferate in a Sentence

  1. rumors about the incident proliferated on the Internet

Did You Know?

Proliferate came about in 1873 as a back-formation of "proliferation." That means that "proliferation" came first (we borrowed it from French in the 1850s) and was later shortened to form the verb "proliferate." Ultimately these terms come from Latin. The French adjective prolifère ("reproducing freely") comes from the Latin noun proles and the Latin combining form "-fer." Proles means "offspring" or "descendants," and -fer means "bearing." Both of these Latin forms gave rise to numerous other English words. "Prolific" and "proletarian" ultimately come from "proles"; "aquifer" and words ending in "-ferous" have their roots in "-fer."

Origin and Etymology of proliferate

back-formation from proliferation, from French prolifération, from proliférer to proliferate, from prolifère reproducing freely, from Latin proles + -fer -ferous


First Known Use: 1866


PROLIFERATE Defined for English Language Learners

proliferate

play
verb pro·lif·er·ate \prə-ˈli-fə-ˌrāt\

Definition of proliferate for English Language Learners

  • : to increase in number or amount quickly


Medical Dictionary

proliferate

play
verb pro·lif·er·ate \prə-ˈlif-ə-ˌrāt\

Medical Definition of proliferate

proliferated

;

proliferating

  1. intransitive verb

  2. :  to grow by rapid production of new parts, cells, buds, or offspring

  3. transitive verb

  4. :  to cause to grow by proliferating



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

an exhausted condition

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • peter-bruegel-tower-of-babel-painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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