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[pruh-lif-uh-reyt] /prəˈlɪf əˌreɪt/
verb (used without object), verb (used with object), proliferated, proliferating.
to grow or produce by multiplication of parts, as in budding or cell division, or by procreation.
to increase in number or spread rapidly and often excessively.
Origin of proliferate
1870-75; prolifer(ous) + -ate1
Related forms
proliferative, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for proliferate
  • The nuclei of the primitive sheath proliferate, and finally absorption of the axons and fatty substance occurs.
  • Social organizations proliferate but it is clear that they serve individual yearnings.
  • They'll only proliferate, and at an increasing rate worldwide.
  • Weapons proliferate, including explosives and rockets in unguarded piles.
  • As companies work their way down the income pyramid, the problems proliferate.
  • Bedbugs continue to proliferate because people in general behave as if the problem will take care of itself.
  • One might say that they proliferate because they are simple, but these factors are not necessarily related.
  • Without that suppression, the pathogen can proliferate enough until it expresses quorum sensing and causes disease.
  • Even as forms of radiation seemed to proliferate, theory was driving physics the other way, toward consolidation.
  • What if the moons crust is stronger in areas where craters proliferate and faults naturally occur where craters are scarce.
British Dictionary definitions for proliferate


to grow or reproduce (new parts, cells, etc) rapidly
to grow or increase or cause to grow or increase rapidly
Derived Forms
proliferative, adjective
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for proliferate

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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proliferate in Medicine

proliferate pro·lif·er·ate (prə-lĭf'ə-rāt')
v. pro·lif·er·at·ed, pro·lif·er·at·ing, pro·lif·er·ates
To grow or multiply by rapidly producing new tissue, parts, cells, or offspring.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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