v. pro·lif·er·at·ed, pro·lif·er·at·ing, pro·lif·er·ates
1. To grow or multiply by rapidly producing new tissue, parts, cells, or offspring.
2. To increase or spread at a rapid rate: fears that nuclear weapons might proliferate.
To cause to grow or increase rapidly.
[Back-formation from PROLIFERATION, the act of proliferating, from French prolifération, from prolifère, procreative : Latin prōlēs, prōl-, offspring; see PROLIFEROUS + Latin -fer, -fer.]
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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.