proliferate

verb pro·lif·er·ate \ prə-ˈli-fə-ˌrāt \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of proliferate

proliferated; proliferating
intransitive verb
1 :to grow by rapid production of new parts, cells, buds, or offspring
2 :to increase in number as if by proliferating :multiply
transitive verb
1 :to cause to grow by proliferating
2 :to cause to increase in number or extent as if by proliferating

proliferation

play \prə-ˌli-fə-ˈrā-shən\ noun

proliferative

play \prə-ˈli-fə-ˌrā-tiv, prə-ˈli-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

Recent Examples of proliferate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proliferate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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


PROLIFERATE Defined for English Language Learners

proliferate

verb

Definition of proliferate for English Language Learners

  • : to increase in number or amount quickly


Medical Dictionary

proliferate

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

medical Definition of proliferate

proliferated; proliferating
intransitive verb
:to grow by rapid production of new parts, cells, buds, or offspring
transitive verb
:to cause to grow by proliferating


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