• synonyms


See more synonyms for proliferate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with or without object), pro·lif·er·at·ed, pro·lif·er·at·ing.
  1. to grow or produce by multiplication of parts, as in budding or cell division, or by procreation.
  2. to increase in number or spread rapidly and often excessively.
Show More

Origin of proliferate

First recorded in 1870–75; prolifer(ous) + -ate1
Related formspro·lif·er·a·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for proliferate

mushroom, escalate, breed, reproduce, snowball, propagate, burgeon, multiply, generate, procreate, engender, expand

Examples from the Web for proliferate

Contemporary Examples of proliferate

Historical Examples of proliferate

British Dictionary definitions for proliferate


  1. to grow or reproduce (new parts, cells, etc) rapidly
  2. to grow or increase or cause to grow or increase rapidly
Show More
Derived Formsproliferative, adjective

Word Origin for proliferate

C19: from Medieval Latin prōlifer having offspring, from Latin prōlēs offspring + ferre to bear
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 proliferate


1857 as a term in biology; see proliferation. General sense from 1961. Related: Proliferated; proliferating.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

proliferate in Medicine


  1. To grow or multiply by rapidly producing new tissue, parts, cells, or offspring.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.