Synonym Chooser

How does the verb inflate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of inflate are amplify, dilate, distend, expand, and swell. While all these words mean "to increase in size or volume," inflate implies expanding by introduction of air or something insubstantial and suggests a vulnerability to sudden collapse.

an inflated ego

When is amplify a more appropriate choice than inflate?

While in some cases nearly identical to inflate, amplify implies the extension or enlargement of something inadequate.

amplify the statement with details

When is it sensible to use dilate instead of inflate?

The meanings of dilate and inflate largely overlap; however, dilate applies especially to expansion of circumference.

dilated pupils

Where would distend be a reasonable alternative to inflate?

Although the words distend and inflate have much in common, distend implies outward extension caused by pressure from within.

a distended abdomen

When might expand be a better fit than inflate?

The synonyms expand and inflate are sometimes interchangeable, but expand may apply regardless of the manner of increase (such as growth, unfolding, addition of parts).

a business that expands every year

When could swell be used to replace inflate?

The words swell and inflate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, swell implies gradual expansion beyond a thing's original or normal limits.

the bureaucracy swelled to unmanageable proportions

Thesaurus Entries Near inflate

Cite this Entry

“Inflate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

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