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[mag-nuh-fahy] /ˈmæg nəˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), magnified, magnifying.
to increase the apparent size of, as a lens does.
to make greater in actual size; enlarge:
to magnify a drawing in preparing for a fresco.
to cause to seem greater or more important; attribute too much importance to; exaggerate:
to magnify one's difficulties.
to make more exciting; intensify; dramatize; heighten:
The playwright magnified the conflict to get her point across.
Archaic. to extol; praise:
to magnify the Lord.
verb (used without object), magnified, magnifying.
to increase or be able to increase the apparent or actual size of an object.
Origin of magnify
1350-1400; Middle English magnifien < Latin magnificāre. See magni-, -fy
Related forms
magnifiable, adjective
overmagnify, verb (used with object), overmagnified, overmagnifying.
remagnify, verb (used with object), remagnified, remagnifying.
unmagnified, adjective
unmagnifying, adjective
2. augment, increase, amplify. 3. overstate.
1, 2. reduce. 3. minimize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for magnify
Historical Examples
  • Let them (the gods) declare, let them magnify, let them sing his praises.

  • Here is a man whom those that magnify him the least confess to be a good man, the best of men.

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • magnify that immensely, increase enormously the noise, and one had the War!

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • Age is commonly boastful, and inclined to magnify past acts and past times.

    King Henry the Fifth William Shakespeare
  • We are awe-struck at their power, and magnify the mystery of their existence.

    By the Christmas Fire

    Samuel McChord Crothers
  • Let us magnify our calling and be happy, but strive to progress.

    Hidden Treasures

    Harry A. Lewis
  • I give you credit for sagacity, but you are disposed to magnify trifles.

    Behind the Scenes Elizabeth Keckley
  • And do not be tempted to magnify Greta's offence against friendship.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • Every thing seemed to combine to magnify the power of the king.

  • In this way does Peter magnify the awful intensity of God's wrath.

British Dictionary definitions for magnify


verb -fies, -fying, -fied
to increase, cause to increase, or be increased in apparent size, as through the action of a lens, microscope, etc
to exaggerate or become exaggerated in importance: don't magnify your troubles
(transitive) (rare) to increase in actual size
(transitive) (archaic) to glorify
Derived Forms
magnifiable, adjective
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin magnificāre to praise; see magnific
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 magnify

late 14c., "to speak or act for the glory or honor (of someone or something)," from Old French magnefiier "glorify, magnify," from Latin magnificare "esteem greatly, extol, make much of," from magnificus "great, elevated, noble" (see magnificence). Meaning "use a telescope or microscope" is first attested 1660s, said to be a unique development in English. Related: Magnified; magnifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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magnify in Medicine

magnify mag·ni·fy (māg'nə-fī')
v. mag·ni·fied, mag·ni·fy·ing, mag·ni·fies
To increase the apparent size of, especially with a lens.

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