Definition of develop in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈveləp/

verb (develops, developing, developed)

1Grow or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate: [no object]: motion pictures developed into mass entertainment (as adjective developing) this is a rapidly developing field [with object]: entrepreneurs develop their skills through trial and error
More example sentences
  • Eventually as the tree matures, it will develop into a fine spreading type.
  • But how many have developed into mature teachers of the type described above?
  • The lads responded and a motley crew matured and developed into a squad to be proud of.
grow, expand, spread;
initiate, instigate, set in motion;
originate, invent, form, establish, generate;
1.1 [no object] (often as adjective developing) (Of a poor agricultural country) become more economically and socially advanced: the developing world
More example sentences
  • I cannot help but wonder why even as the country developed economically, the peasants are not receiving any benefits?
  • Any effort to help poor countries develop should start by making them aware of the importance of trade and integration.
  • As poorer countries develop and stabilise, our security will improve and our own economy grow through increased trading opportunities.
1.2 [with object] Convert (land) to a new purpose by constructing buildings or making other use of its resources.
Example sentences
  • Richmond council's plans to develop land in and around Crane Valley has been left in shreds by the government inspector.
  • The public of Bradford need to know the true facts regarding plans to develop the land at West Bowling Golf Club.
  • Locally, he was involved in the Walton Green Inquiry, organising an appeal against a council decision to develop the land in the area.
1.3Construct or convert (a building) so as to improve existing resources.
Example sentences
  • The AA said the award reflects the hotel group's ‘outstanding commitment to improving and developing their hotels’.
  • Work is underway at this stage on improving and developing facilities at Ballyduff GAA grounds, Kildermody.
  • Such interest has seen many hotel chains develop their facilities.
1.4 [with object] Elaborate (a musical theme) by modification of the melody, harmony, or rhythm.
Example sentences
  • It is not shaped and limited by words and it gives Menotti a chance to develop his musical themes instead of just moving from one to another.
  • A lengthy Allegro moderato develops the themes rather well although one cannot claim that we are re-discovering a masterpiece.
  • Maid Of Gold and Things Told only reinforce the atmospheric canvas of this album, simply developing the melodies and soundscapes to reassess their compositions.
expand, augment, broaden, supplement, reinforce;
enhance, refine, improve, polish, perfect
1.5 [with object] Chess Bring (a piece) into play from its initial position on a player’s back rank.
Example sentences
  • Black breaks the pin caused by White's dark-squared Bishop while developing a piece and preparing to castle.
  • Black's pawns point towards the queenside, where he enjoys more space and has developed his pieces.
  • This develops a piece, adds to White's control over d5, gets a step closer to castling, and also takes aim at the Black King.
1.6 [with object] Geometry Convert (a curved surface) conceptually into a plane figure as if by unrolling.
Example sentences
  • A curve can be developed by plotting changes in phase delay as the test frequency is varied.
  • Figure B shows the concept of developing an involute curve and its application in the design of involute gear tooth profile-measuring machines.
1.7 [with object] Mathematics Expand (a function, etc.) in the form of a series.
Example sentences
  • In the second part, we shall consider the problem of developing a function into a series.
  • Students should be able to employ the orthogonality relation of Legendre polynomials to develop functions as series of such polynomials.
2Start to exist, experience, or possess: [no object]: a strange closeness developed [with object]: I developed an interest in law [with object]: AIDS patients often develop a rare type of cancer
More example sentences
  • For some patients, the experience of developing a chronic illness may mean they are unable to function in the role that their doctor expects.
  • The urge develops because past pleasurable experience and related benefits from the substance or activity are expected to reoccur on the next occasion.
  • After that he began to develop an interest in cosmetics.
start, begin, emerge, erupt, break out, burst out, arise, break, unfold, happen
fall ill with, be stricken with, succumb to;
contract, catch, get, pick up, come down with, become infected with
3 [with object] Treat (a photographic film) with chemicals to make a visible image.
Example sentences
  • They have interviewed a woman from the audience of the BBC1 programme Question Time who claimed to have seen the images while developing a film at a photographic laboratory.
  • Once an exposure is made the paper or film is developed to produce an image.
  • Images of film that has been developed are captured by image sensing.


Mid 17th century (in the sense 'unfold, unfurl'): from French développer, based on Latin dis- 'un-' + a second element of unknown origin found also in envelop.

Words that rhyme with develop


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·vel·op

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