[ pruh-lif-uh-reyt ]
See synonyms for proliferate on
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.

Origin of proliferate

First recorded in 1870–75; prolifer(ous) + -ate1

Other words from proliferate

  • pro·lif·er·a·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use proliferate in a sentence

  • At the edges the epithelium has proliferated and is covering over the newly formed granulation tissue.

    Manual of Surgery | Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles
  • The last two are probably the same process, the connective tissue having its origin in the proliferated endothelial cells.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension: | Louis Marshall Warfield
  • This cryptogamic growth is developed in the proliferated cells of epithelium.

  • Powerful cities proliferated, inhabited by a class of burghers who engaged in trading.

    After the Rain | Sam Vaknin
  • He proliferated titles for a time, and settled at last on "From Realism to Reality."

    Marriage | H. G. Wells

British Dictionary definitions for proliferate


/ (prəˈlɪfəˌreɪt) /

  1. to grow or reproduce (new parts, cells, etc) rapidly

  2. to grow or increase or cause to grow or increase rapidly

Origin of proliferate

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

Derived forms of proliferate

  • proliferative, 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