v. made (mād), mak·ing, makes
1. To cause to exist or happen; bring about; create: made problems for us; making a commotion.
2. To bring into existence by shaping, modifying, or putting together material; construct: make a dress; made a stone wall.
3. To form by assembling individuals or constituents: We made a temporary information center using savvy volunteers.
4. To change from one form or function to another: make clay into bricks.
a. To cause to be or become: made her position clear; a decision that made him happy.
b. To cause to assume a specified function or role: made her treasurer; made Austin his home.
a. To cause to act in a specified manner: Heat makes gases expand.
b. To compel: made him quit.
a. To form in the mind: make an estimate.
b. To compose: make verses.
a. To prepare; fix: make dinner.
b. To get ready or set in order for use: made the bed.
c. To gather and light the materials for (a fire).
a. To engage in: make war.
b. To carry out; perform: make a phone call; make an incision.
10. To achieve, produce, or attain: made peace between the two sides; not making sense; didn't make the quota.
a. To institute or establish; enact: make laws.
b. To draw up and execute in a suitable form: make a will.
c. To arrange or agree to: make a date.
a. To arrive at; reach: made Seattle in two hours.
b. To reach in time: just made the plane.
a. To attain the rank or position of: made lieutenant.
b. To acquire a place in or on: made the baseball team; made the newspapers.
a. To gain or earn, as by working: make money.
b. To behave so as to acquire: make friends.
c. To score or achieve, as in a sport: made a field goal.
a. To assure the success of: Favorable reviews can make a play.
b. To favor the development of: Practice makes a winning team.
16. To be suited for: Oak makes strong furniture.
17. To develop into: will make a fine doctor.
a. To draw a conclusion as to the significance or nature of: don't know what to make of the decision.
b. To calculate as being; estimate: I make the height 20 feet.
c. To consider as being: wasn't the problem some people made it.
a. To constitute: They make a great team.
b. To add up to: Two and two make four.
c. To amount to: makes no difference.
20. To cover (a distance): made 200 miles before sunset
21. To constitute the essence or nature of: Clothes make the man.
22. To cause to be especially enjoyable or rewarding: Your being along really made the outing.
23. To appear to begin (an action): She made to leave.
24. Slang To persuade to have sexual intercourse.
1. To act or behave in a specified manner: make merry; make free.
2. To begin or appear to begin an action: made as if to shake my hand.
3. To cause something to be as specified: make ready; make sure.
4. To proceed in a certain direction: made for home; made after the thief.
5. Slang To pretend to be; imitate. Used with like: made like a ballerina.
6. To undergo fabrication or manufacture: This wool makes up into a warm shawl.
7. To rise or accumulate: The tide is making.
a. The style or manner in which a thing is made: disliked the make of my coat.
b. A specific line of manufactured goods, identified by the manufacturer's name or the registered trademark: a famous make of shirt.
c. The origin of a product's manufacturing: a bicycle of a French make.
a. The physical or moral nature of a person: found out what make of man he was.
b. The physical nature or build of an animal or person: a horse of a beautiful make.
3. Slang Identification of a person or thing, often from information in police records: Did you get a make on the thief?
1. To have or produce (a particular effect or result): small details that make for comfort.
2. To help promote; further: makes for better communication.
To depart in haste; run away.
1. To discern or see, especially with difficulty: I could barely make out the traffic signs through the rain.
2. To understand: could not make out what she said.
3. To write out; draw up: made out the invoices.
4. To fill in (a form, for example).
5. Informal To represent as being: made me out to be a liar.
6. Informal To try to establish or prove: He made out that he was innocent.
7. To get along in a given way; fare: made out well in business.
a. To neck; pet.
b. To have sexual intercourse.
1. To redo; renovate.
2. To change or transfer the ownership of, usually by means of a legal document: made over the property to her son.
1. To put together; construct or compose: make up a prescription.
2. To constitute; form: Ten years make up a decade.
3. To alter one's appearance for a role on the stage, as with a costume and cosmetics.
4. To apply cosmetics.
5. To devise as a fiction or falsehood; invent: made up an excuse.
6. To make good (a deficit or lack): made up the difference in the bill.
7. To compensate for: make up for lost time.
8. To resolve a quarrel: kissed and made up.
9. To make ingratiating or fawning overtures. Used with to: made up to his friend's boss.
10. To take (an examination or course) again or at a later time because of previous absence or failure.
11. To set in order: make up a room.
12. Printing To select and arrange material for: made up the front page.
make with SlangIdioms:
1. To bring into use: a flirt making with the eyes.
2. To put forth; produce: always making with the jokes.
make a clean breast of
To confess fully.
make a face
To distort the features of the face; grimace.
make a go of
To achieve success in: have made a go of the business.
make away with
1. To carry off; steal.
2. To use up or consume.
3. To kill or destroy.
To venture: I will not make so bold as to criticize such a scholar.
To accept bets on a race, game, or contest.
To manage to get along with the means available: had to make do on less income.
make ends meet
To manage so that one's means are sufficient for one's needs.
make fun of
To mock; ridicule.
1. To carry out successfully: made good his escape.
2. To fulfill: made good her promise.
3. To make compensation for; make up for: made good the loss.
4. To succeed: made good as a writer.
To turn to one's advantage: The candidate's opponents made hay of the scandal.
make heads or tails of
To understand: I couldn't make heads or tails of the report.
To do something memorable or spectacular enough to influence the course of history: The first space flight made history.
1. Informal To achieve a goal; be successful: finally made it as an actor.
2. Slang To have sexual intercourse.
make light of
To treat as unimportant: He made light of his illness.
make light work of
To do or accomplish easily.
1. To engage in amorous caressing.
2. To engage in sexual intercourse.
make much of
To treat as of great importance.
To resolve a quarrel; make up.
make no bones about
To be forthright and candid about; acknowledge freely: They make no bones about their dislike for each other.
make off with
To snatch or steal: made off with the profits.
make (one's) day
To give one great pleasure.
make (one's) peace with
To bring oneself to accept; reconcile oneself to.
make (one's) way
1. To go forward; advance.
2. To succeed, especially in making a living.
1. To begin a voyage.
2. To set sail.
1. To be coherent or intelligible: an explanation that made sense.
2. To be practical or advisable: It makes sense to go now.
make something of
To start a fight or quarrel over.
make the grade
To measure up to a given standard.
make the most of
To use to the greatest advantage.
make the scene Slang
1. To put in an appearance: made the scene at the party.
2. To participate in a specified activity: made the drug scene.
1. To travel speedily.
2. To travel at a specified rate: We made good time getting to town.
3. Slang To make progress toward attracting someone: tried to make time with the new neighbor.
make tracks Slang
To move or leave in a hurry.
make up (one's) mind
To decide between alternatives; come to a definite decision or opinion.
make waves Slang
To cause a disturbance or controversy.
1. To give room for passage; move aside.
2. To make progress.
on the make Slang
1. Aggressively striving for financial or social improvement: a young executive on the make.
2. Eagerly seeking a sexual partner.
[Middle English maken, from Old English macian; see mag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
maka·ble, makea·ble adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.