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[dahy-leyt, di-, dahy-leyt] /daɪˈleɪt, dɪ-, ˈdaɪ leɪt/
verb (used with object), dilated, dilating.
to make wider or larger; cause to expand.
Archaic. to describe or develop at length.
verb (used without object), dilated, dilating.
to spread out; expand.
to speak or write at length; expatiate (often followed by on or upon).
Origin of dilate
1350-1400; Middle English dilaten < Middle French dilater, Latin dīlātāre to spread out, equivalent to dī- di-2 + lāt(us) broad + -āre infinitive suffix
Related forms
dilatability, noun
dilatable, adjective
nondilatability, noun
nondilatable, adjective
overdilate, verb, overdilated, overdilating.
redilate, verb, redilated, redilating.
self-dilated, adjective
subdilated, adjective
undilatable, adjective
undilated, adjective
undilating, adjective
Can be confused
dilate, dilute.
1. See expand. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dilate
Historical Examples
  • Surely one may dilate, even in print, on the qualities of individuals of the fair sex if it be all praise.

  • On this point it will not be expected that we should dilate at length.

  • It is equally unnecessary to dilate on the appointment of senators by the State legislatures.

    The Federalist Papers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
  • To distend is to stretch apart or spread in all directions; to dilate, to expand.

    Orthography Elmer W. Cavins
  • As these fervent, passionate words were almost flung at her, Charlotte Harman's eyes began suddenly to dilate.

    How It All Came Round L. T. Meade
  • On that last point I must dilate a little; on the point of Considerateness.

    To My Younger Brethren Handley C. G. Moule
  • On entering his study, however, he beheld a sight that caused his eyes to dilate with astonishment.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • She was pale and fragile, yet she seemed to expand and to dilate with force and energy.

    The Doctor of Pimlico William Le Queux
  • I will not dilate on the many advantages which this description of writing possesses over all others.

  • In that September morning his soul seemed to dilate with every breath he drew.

    The Child of Pleasure Gabriele D'Annunzio
British Dictionary definitions for dilate


/daɪˈleɪt; dɪ-/
to expand or cause to expand; make or become wider or larger: the pupil of the eye dilates in the dark
(intransitive; often foll by on or upon) to speak or write at length; expand or enlarge
Derived Forms
dilatable, adjective
dilatability, dilatableness, noun
dilation, dilatation (ˌdaɪləˈteɪʃən; ˌdɪ-) noun
dilatational, adjective
dilative (daɪˈleɪtɪv; dɪ-) adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Latin dīlātāre to spread out, amplify, from dis- apart + lātus wide
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dilate

late 14c., from Old French dilater, from Late Latin dilatare "make wider, enlarge," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + latus "wide" (see latitude). Related: Dilated; dilating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dilate in Medicine

dilate di·late (dī-lāt', dī'lāt')
v. di·lat·ed, di·lat·ing, di·lates
To make or become wider or larger.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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