v. in·creased, in·creas·ing, in·creas·es
1. To become greater or larger.
2. To multiply; reproduce.
To make greater or larger.
1. The act of increasing: a steady increase in temperature.
2. The amount or rate by which something is increased: a tax increase of 15 percent.
3. Obsolete Reproduction and spread; propagation.
on the increase
Increasing, especially in frequency of occurrence: Crime is on the increase.
[Middle English encresen, from Old French encreistre, encreiss-, from Latin incrēscere : in-, intensive pref.; see IN-2 + crēscere, to grow; see ker-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: increase, expand, enlarge, augment, multiply1
These verbs mean to make or become greater or larger. Increase sometimes suggests steady growth: The president's economic program is designed to increase consumer confidence. The city's population increased during the last decade. Expand applies especially to an increase in size, volume, or scope: Visiting the botanical garden has expanded my interest in tropical plants. These plant fibers expand when water is plentiful. Enlarge often implies an increase in size, area, or extent, as by widening or broadening: The landowner enlarged her property by repeated purchases. The disease causes the kidneys to enlarge. Augment usually applies to an increase that is already developed or well under way: She augmented her collection of books each month. As the pressure augments, the volume of the steam decreases. To multiply is to increase in number: The internet has multiplied the ways in which consumers can buy goods. The number of tourists visiting the town has multiplied since the highway opened.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.