verb (used with object), mag·ni·fied, mag·ni·fy·ing.

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), mag·ni·fied, mag·ni·fy·ing.

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 formsmag·ni·fi·a·ble, adjectiveo·ver·mag·ni·fy, verb (used with object), o·ver·mag·ni·fied, o·ver·mag·ni·fy··mag·ni·fy, verb (used with object), re·mag·ni·fied, re·mag·ni·fy·ing.un·mag·ni·fied, adjectiveun·mag·ni·fy·ing, adjective

Synonyms for magnify

Antonyms for magnify

1, 2. reduce. 3. minimize. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for magnify

Historical Examples of magnify

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for magnify


verb -fies, -fying or -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 importancedon't magnify your troubles
(tr) rare to increase in actual size
(tr) archaic to glorify
Derived Formsmagnifiable, adjective

Word Origin for magnify

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

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

magnify in Medicine




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.