[ ik-spand ]
See synonyms for: expandexpandedexpandingexpandable on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to increase in extent, size, volume, scope, etc.: Heat expands most metals. He hopes to expand his company.

  2. to spread or stretch out; unfold: A bird expands its wings.

  1. to express in fuller form or greater detail; develop: to expand a short story into a novel.

  2. Mathematics.

    • to write (a mathematical expression) so as to show the products of its factors.: Compare factor (def. 10).

    • 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.

  1. to express something more fully or in greater detail (usually followed by on or upon): to expand on a statement.

Origin of expand

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

synonym study For expand

1. 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.

Other words for expand

Other words from expand

  • 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

Words that may be confused with expand

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use expand in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for expand


/ (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

  1. (intr often foll by on) to enlarge or expatiate on (a story, topic, etc) in detail

  2. (intr) to become increasingly relaxed, friendly, or talkative

  3. maths to express (a function or expression) as the sum or product of terms

Origin of expand

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

Derived forms of expand

  • expandable, adjective

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