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.

1870–75; prolifer(ous) + -ate1

proliferative, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
proliferate (prəˈlɪfəˌreɪt)
1.  to grow or reproduce (new parts, cells, etc) rapidly
2.  to grow or increase or cause to grow or increase rapidly
[C19: from Medieval Latin prōlifer having offspring, from Latin prōlēs offspring + ferre to bear]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1873, as a term in biology, from proliferation. General sense from 1961.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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Example sentences
They are vibrant microbial communities, not clinging to life in a narrow niche
  but proliferating in it, replicating up a storm.
The unusual gene doesn't stop infection, but it does keep the virus from
These altered mice produced far fewer proliferating stem cells than their
  normal counterparts.
The danger here is that chemistry errors are proliferating from one database to
  another as the content is reused.
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