verb (used with object), mul·ti·plied, mul·ti·ply·ing.

verb (used without object), mul·ti·plied, mul·ti·ply·ing.

Origin of multiply

1225–75; Middle English multiplien < Old French multiplier < Latin multiplicāre. See multi-, ply2
Related formsself-mul·ti·plied, adjectiveself-mul·ti·ply·ing, adjectiveun·mul·ti·plied, adjectiveun·mul·ti·ply·ing, adjective

Synonyms for multiply




in several or many ways; in a multiple manner; manifoldly.

Origin of multiply

First recorded in 1880–85; multiple + -ly


[muhl-tee-plahy, muhl-tahy-]


having or composed of several plies: a multi-ply fabric.

Origin of multi-ply

First recorded in 1935–40 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for multiply

Contemporary Examples of multiply

Historical Examples of multiply

  • Obstacles will only increase his eagerness and multiply his artifices.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • If you are wise and old and gray in woods experience, you will multiply that length by four.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • On the contrary, the fit should be urged to multiply as much as possible.

  • It is more easy to mention the types which should not be allowed to multiply than those which should.

  • I'm about to tell you how you can multiply yours considerable.

    Old Man Curry

    Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan

British Dictionary definitions for multiply


verb -plies, -plying or -plied

to increase or cause to increase in number, quantity, or degree
(tr) to combine (two numbers or quantities) by multiplication
(intr) to increase in number by reproduction
Derived Formsmultipliable or multiplicable, adjective

Word Origin for multiply

C13: from Old French multiplier, from Latin multiplicāre to multiply, from multus much, many + plicāre to fold
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 multiply

mid-12c., multeplier, "to cause to become many," from Old French multiplier, mouteplier (12c.) "increase, get bigger; flourish; breed; extend, enrich," from Latin multiplicare "to increase," from multiplex (genitive multiplicis) "having many folds, many times as great in number," from comb. form of multus (see multi-) + -plex "-fold," from PIE *plek- "to plait" (see ply (v.1.)). Mathematical sense is attested from late 14c. Related: Multiplied; multiplying.



1950, from multi- + ply (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

multiply in Medicine




To increase the amount, number, or degree of.
To breed or propagate.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

multiply in Science



To perform multiplication on a pair of quantities.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.