Definition of magnify in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmaɡnɪfʌɪ/

verb (magnifies, magnifying, magnified)

[with object]
1Make (something) appear larger than it is, especially with a lens or microscope: the retinal image will be magnified
More example sentences
  • Way out in the corners of the galaxy, there are objects so massive that they curve light into gargantuan gravitational lenses, distorting and magnifying objects behind them.
  • Her blue eyes were magnified from the lenses of her glasses, making them appear like pools of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Viruses are extremely small things, so even normal microscopes are not powerful enough to allow us to visualise a virus, so one has to use an electron microscope which magnifies objects by 40,000 times or so.
1.1Increase or exaggerate the importance or effect of: you had problems before you went to Vietnam, and 'Nam magnified them
More example sentences
  • When private companies enter the field of manned spaceflight, those inherent risks could be magnified.
  • Yet if vulnerabilities and safeguards aren't linked, and vested interests are allowed to get in the way of objectivity, risk will only be magnified.
  • Consequently all the city's contrasts, contradictions and ambiguities seem to be magnified by the scorching sun.
2 archaic Praise highly; glorify: praise the Lord and magnify Him
More example sentences
  • The words go like this: “I’m free to worship, I’m free to praise, I’m free to lift up holy hands and magnify His name.”
  • Time shall embalm and magnify her name.





Pronunciation: /ˈmaɡnɪfʌɪə/
Example sentences
  • Twelve years later, Roy's condition has remained fairly stable and he can use special magnifiers to read newspapers and can watch the TV from around 12 inches away.
  • The company designs, manufactures and distributes a range of electronic magnifiers for the visually impaired and partially sighted.
  • Illuminated magnifiers are also available in ten libraries for people to use to look at books and other material in the library


Late Middle English (in the senses 'show honour to (God') and 'make greater'): from Old French magnifier or Latin magnificare, based on Latin magnus 'great'. sense 1 dates from the mid 17th century.

  • Early uses have strong biblical associations and included ‘show honour to (God)’ (Luke 1:46: ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord’: part of the Magnificat, a canticle used in Christian liturgy) and ‘make greater in size or importance’ (Job 20:6: ‘Though he be magnified up to the heaven’). ‘Make larger by means of a lens’ is a sense dating from the mid 17th century. It goes back to Latin magnus ‘great’ as does magnificent (Late Middle English) originally ‘serving to magnify’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: mag|nify

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