View synonyms for expand


[ ik-spand ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to increase in extent, size, volume, scope, etc.:

    Heat expands most metals. He hopes to expand his company.

    Synonyms: enlarge, swell, extend

  2. to spread or stretch out; unfold:

    A bird expands its wings.

  3. to express in fuller form or greater detail; develop:

    to expand a short story into a novel.

  4. Mathematics.
    1. to write (a mathematical expression) so as to show the products of its factors. Compare factor ( def 10 ).
    2. to rewrite (a mathematical expression) as a sum, product, etc., of terms of a particular kind:

      to expand a function in a power series.

verb (used without object)

  1. to increase or grow in extent, bulk, scope, etc.:

    Most metals expand with heat. The mind expands with experience.

  2. to spread out; unfold; develop:

    The buds had not yet expanded.

  3. to express something more fully or in greater detail (usually followed by on or upon ):

    to expand on a statement.


/ ɪkˈspænd /


  1. to make or become greater in extent, volume, size, or scope; increase
  2. to spread out or be spread out; unfold; stretch out
  3. introften foll byon to enlarge or expatiate on (a story, topic, etc) in detail
  4. intr to become increasingly relaxed, friendly, or talkative
  5. maths to express (a function or expression) as the sum or product of terms

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Derived Forms

  • exˈpandable, adjective

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Other Words From

  • ex·panda·ble ex·pandi·ble adjective
  • ex·panda·bili·ty ex·pandi·bili·ty noun
  • nonex·panding adjective
  • over·ex·pand verb
  • preex·pand verb (used with object)
  • reex·pand verb
  • self-ex·panding adjective
  • super·ex·pand verb
  • unex·panda·ble adjective
  • unex·panding adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of expand1

First recorded in 1450–1500; late Middle English expanden, from Latin expandere “to spread out,” equivalent to ex- ex- 1 + pandere “to extend, stretch”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of expand1

C15: from Latin expandere to spread out, from pandere to spread, extend

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Synonym Study

Expand, dilate, distend, inflate imply becoming larger and filling more space. To expand is to spread out, usually in every direction: to expand one's chest. To dilate is especially to increase the width or circumference, and applies to space enclosed within confines or to hollow bodies: to dilate the pupils of the eyes. To distend is to stretch, often beyond the point of natural expansion: to distend an artery. To inflate is to blow out or swell a hollow body with air or gas: to inflate a balloon.

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Example Sentences

He once experimented with dressing as “Hilda the Wicked Witch” as a way to expand his business to Halloween.

It also provides a critical opportunity to expand the ranks of the middle class.

Dr. Grenci, who agrees, also saw it as a way to expand her own knowledge on the subculture and what makes it so appealing.

The center for Justice and Accountability in San Francisco, and other human rights organizations went to work to expand the law.

And the CENTCOM commander said that ISIS figures could expand dramatically based on the nature of its actions.

His slight, thin, rather graceless figure seemed suddenly to expand, even to grow taller.

In one, which occurs not infrequently, a thickened arm is made to expand into something like a fan-shaped hand, as in Fig. 18.

Thus the increase of temperature that augments the elasticity of a fluid confined, would expand it in the same degree.

Those modern marine engines use about the same steam pressure and expand about in the same proportion.

Dr. May looked at his son, and saw his face clear up, his brow expand, and his lips unclose with admiration.