• synonyms


[dahy-leyt, di-, dahy-leyt]
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verb (used with object), di·lat·ed, di·lat·ing.
  1. to make wider or larger; cause to expand.
  2. Archaic. to describe or develop at length.
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verb (used without object), di·lat·ed, di·lat·ing.
  1. to spread out; expand.
  2. to speak or write at length; expatiate (often followed by on or upon).
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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 formsdi·lat·a·bil·i·ty, noundi·lat·a·ble, adjectivenon·di·lat·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·di·lat·a·ble, adjectiveo·ver·di·late, verb, o·ver·di·lat·ed, o·ver·di·lat·ing.re·di·late, verb, re·di·lat·ed, re·di·lat·ing.self-di·lat·ed, adjectivesub·di·lat·ed, adjectiveun·di·lat·a·ble, adjectiveun·di·lat·ed, adjectiveun·di·lat·ing, adjective
Can be confuseddilate dilute


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1. See expand.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for dilate

Historical Examples

  • It would be needless to dilate upon the value of such a work.

    Graham's Magazine Vol XXXII No. 1 January 1848


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

    The Doctor of Pimlico

    William Le Queux

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

    The Child of Pleasure

    Gabriele D'Annunzio

  • Little need to dilate on the situation as it appeared to Mrs Iver!

    Tristram of Blent

    Anthony Hope

  • Yet how will it dilate on the Odyssean smell of hemp and tar!

    Journeys to Bagdad

    Charles S. Brooks

British Dictionary definitions for dilate


  1. to expand or cause to expand; make or become wider or largerthe pupil of the eye dilates in the dark
  2. (intr; often foll by on or upon) to speak or write at length; expand or enlarge
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Derived Formsdilatable, adjectivedilatability or dilatableness, noundilation or dilatation (ˌdaɪləˈteɪʃən, ˌdɪ-), noundilatational, adjectivedilative (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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dilate in Medicine


(dī-lāt, dīlāt′)
  1. To make or become wider or larger.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.