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built ˈbilt How to pronounce build (audio) ; building

transitive verb

: to form by ordering and uniting materials by gradual means into a composite whole : construct
birds building a nest
build new hospitals and schools
the boat her father built
: to cause to be constructed
a contractor who has built hundreds of homes
: to develop according to a systematic plan, by a definite process, or on a particular base
building a legal case against her
built the organization from the ground up
: increase, enlarge
helps build muscle
build support for their candidate
building friendships

intransitive verb

: to engage in building
: to progress toward a peak (as of intensity)
build to a climax
: to develop in extent
a crowd building


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plural builds
: form or mode of structure : make
the boxy build of the car
especially : bodily conformation of a person or animal
a man of stocky build
: a version or iteration of a product or component
We worked with several builds of the beta code, which was in itself instructive. Things that worked perfectly in one version stopped working at all in the next release. Bill Machrone et al.
build a fire under
: to stimulate to vigorous action
build into
: to make an integral part of
build quality into the product
build on
: to use as a foundation
building on past experience

Example Sentences

Verb The bridge was built in the 1890s. The planes were built in Germany. The organization helps build houses for poor families. A family of birds has built a nest on our roof. She started building a fire in the fireplace. He built a model airplane from a kit. You will need permission to build on your property. They are building a legal case against the tobacco industry. scientists building theories about how the universe began At college, you'll build friendships that will last a lifetime. Noun He is strong and muscular in build. a man of average build See More
Recent Examples on the Web
However, the hope is to build something that snowmobilers can enjoy for years to come. Drew Dawson, Journal Sentinel, 24 Nov. 2022 Over the years, the team has experimented with ways to use lunar dust and gravel to build landing pads. Los Angeles Times, 21 Nov. 2022 The pups will use awesome construction vehicles to build and repair things in the town of Builder Cove — a growing area neighboring PAW Patrol's Adventure Bay that needs plenty of help from Rubble and his construction crew. Angela Andaloro, Peoplemag, 21 Nov. 2022 Use them to build towers, castles, pyramids and more. Good Housekeeping, 18 Nov. 2022 His most ambitious plan is to sell the current site, in a rapidly gentrifying patch of Brooklyn, to developers and use the proceeds to build a smaller, modern high-rise hospital across the street on a parking lot. Joseph Goldstein Desiree Rios, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2022 Use old tissue boxes to build these snowmen, then have the kiddos knock 'em down. Anna Logan, Country Living, 17 Nov. 2022 Andreas Mershin, a reseach scientist at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, and architect Chris Maurer are working on a project to use bricks created from oyster mushroom mycelium to build houses in Namibia. Byian Mount, Fortune, 15 Nov. 2022 And the founders are not going to build them unless there’s money aligned with their vision. Time, 13 Nov. 2022
Each car is labeled with its build number, the sequence sunk beneath the surface of the carbon-fiber center-console trim. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, 23 Nov. 2022 The motorsport legend signed the build contract for his custom 60 Sunreef Power Eco last September but decided to take the bigger model on vacation while awaiting delivery. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 23 Nov. 2022 The temperature tracking precision is on point for this quality pour over set, which is minimalist in design and build. Outside Online, 23 Nov. 2022 He's got an athletic build and nothing but potential for fun outdoor activities. Binghui Huang, The Indianapolis Star, 22 Nov. 2022 From Devin Booker to Ish Wainright and everyone else in between, the Suns have greatly benefitted from a program build on coach-player relationships powered by hard work, trust and accountability. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 22 Nov. 2022 Throughout the 1970s, Bass traveled to Cuba as part of the Venceremos Brigade, an organization that has sent Americans to help Cuba’s Communist government build homes, harvest sugarcane and other such affairs for over 50 years. Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, 21 Nov. 2022 This model features a commercial-grade build that’s plenty durable and easy to install (it can even be cut to fit). Melanie Gibson, Men's Health, 18 Nov. 2022 This could add to the cost, instead of a straightforward build. San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English bilden, from Old English byldan; akin to Old English būan to dwell — more at bower

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of build was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near build

Cite this Entry

“Build.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

build 1 of 2


built ˈbilt How to pronounce build (audio) ; building
: to make by putting together parts or materials : construct
build a house
build a bridge
: to produce or create gradually
build a winning team
build up your strength
: to move or grow toward a peak
excitement was building


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: form or kind of structure
especially : physique

More from Merriam-Webster on build

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