Definition of grow in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡrō/

verb (past grew /ɡro͞o/; past participle grown /ɡrōn/)

[no object]
1(Of a living thing) undergo natural development by increasing in size and changing physically; progress to maturity: he would watch Nick grow to manhood (as adjective growing) the linguistic skills acquired by the growing child (as adjective grown) the stupidity of grown men hitting a ball with a stick
More example sentences
  • Unlike a moving fibroblast, however, the extending axon also grows in size, with an accompanying increase in the total surface area of the neuron's plasma membrane.
  • It seemed that the dot grew slightly in size as the intensity setting was increased.
  • Max's whole body had grown in size in around a minute; instead of being his usual 6'4, he was now around 7 to 8 feet tall.
get bigger, get taller, get larger, increase in size
1.1(Of a plant) germinate and develop: seaweed grows in the ocean
More example sentences
  • Grass grew, foliage returned to trees' canopies, and blooming flowers proliferated.
  • Nitrate is the main source of nitrogen for most plant species growing in aerobic soils.
  • Grass grows well enough there, but it's usually found in raggedly in orchards, or on fields for animals to eat.
sprout, germinate, shoot up, spring up, develop, bud, burst forth, bloom, flourish, thrive, burgeon
1.2 [with object] Produce by cultivation: more and more land was needed to grow crops for export
More example sentences
  • However, they are impossible to grow through artificial cultivation.
  • He is a Madison, South Dakota, farmer who grows certified organic crops.
  • If we choose fresh, organic, locally grown crops we are supporting gardeners and farmers who choose to maintain our right to good food.
cultivate, produce, propagate, raise, rear, nurture, tend;
1.3 [with object] Allow or cause (a part of the body) to grow or develop: [with object]: she grew her hair long
More example sentences
  • Imagine growing a replacement body, having your head transplanted to it, and then eating the old body.
  • They are actual alien life forms exploiting the gestational nature of my body to try and grow bodies of their own.
  • In Masai culture, only warriors are allowed to grow their hair out.
1.4(Of something abstract) come into existence and develop: the Vietnamese diaspora grew out of their national tragedy
More example sentences
  • Cities in Afghanistan didn't grow because of the rivers; they grew up because they were on the ring road or connected to it.
  • Second, it seeks to reverse the insidious culture of division that has grown up around the existence of these principles.
  • At some point, a complex wooden network began to grow up the walls of the entrance area.
originate, stem, spring, arise, emerge, issue;
develop, evolve
2Become larger or greater over a period of time; increase: turnover grew to more than $100,000 within three years (as adjective growing) a growing number of people are coming to realize this
More example sentences
  • The last has seen the highest increase in price in the last year, growing in value by 15.4%.
  • Money and its availability is usually the primary concern for all budget holders while the latter is growing in importance and complexity.
  • It's a procedure that's growing in popularity in America, and especially here in Hollywood.
2.1 [with object] Cause (something, especially a business) to expand or increase.
Example sentences
  • But it is the money from business that has grown the industry and accelerated the technology, not hobbying.
  • We are expanding but will grow a business to suit ourselves.
  • We cannot grow the business because if you want to grow the business you have to get more money.
expand, extend, develop, progress, make progress;
flourish, thrive, burgeon, prosper, succeed, boom
3 [with complement] Become gradually or increasingly: sharing our experiences, we grew braver
More example sentences
  • It penetrated through the houses, shaking the earth and pounding the eardrums of a garbled populace which had gradually grown accustomed to the noise.
  • Initially he supported its Congregationalist ideology, but gradually grew dissatisfied.
  • A distant drumming could be heard gradually growing louder and louder.
3.1 [with infinitive] (Of a person) come to feel or know something over time: she grew to like the friendly, quiet people at the farm
More example sentences
  • If so, it is because you have changed or because you have grown to see the person more clearly?
  • He has quickly grown to love the work, the people it has brought him in contact with, and the region he had been waiting to return to.
  • Obviously factory work was worse because it was so bloody noisy as well, but I really grew to hate those assignments too, as people made the same mistakes over and over and over.
become, get, turn, begin to feel


Although grow is typically intransitive, as in he grew two inches taller over the summer, its use as a transitive verb has long been standard in such phrases as grow crops and grow a beard. Recently, however, grow has extended its transitive sense and has become popular in business, economics, and government contexts: growing the industry, growing your business, growing your investment, and so on.


grow on trees

[usually with negative] informal Be plentiful or easily obtained: money doesn’t grow on trees
More example sentences
  • That party thinks that money just grows on trees and is there for the picking.
  • Money doesn't grow on trees, and neither does happiness or anything else worth having.
  • For four nights, every middle-class family in town forsook watching TV sitcoms to see the fireworks, and suddenly, we lived in a city where public transportation seemed to grow on trees.

Phrasal verbs


grow apart

(Of two or more people) become gradually estranged.
Example sentences
  • His parents gradually grew apart and his father moved to Monte Carlo while his mother, who was deaf, became an Orthodox nun.
  • In the 1930s, however, the members gradually grew apart.
  • It is the difference between growing apart and falling apart…

grow into

Become as a result of natural development or gradual increase: Swampscott grew into a fishing village of about three hundred people by the 1850s
More example sentences
  • The whole point of America is that it didn't just grow into nationhood from the gradual merging of peoples and consolidation of lands.
  • After the better part of a decade hoping that the person I am growing into was good enough for her I had my moment of glory, and now I have my lifetime of regrets.
  • The bone cells were cultured in lab until they grew into a big enough chunk that a jeweller could carve it into a ring.
2.1Become large enough to wear (a garment) comfortably.

grow on

Become gradually more appealing to (someone): a house has to grow on you
More example sentences
  • But give the director that whim, and this film grows on you gradually.
  • And the damn thing grows on you, like the most insidious radio tunes.
  • Sometimes a new car's appearance grows on you, sometimes it does not appeal at all.

grow out

Disappear because of normal growth: Colette’s old perm had almost grown out
More example sentences
  • They have a downward-pointing hook at the end of their upper beak that grows out and disappears by the time the nestlings fledge.
  • What are some good styling options for short relaxed hair as a perm grows out?
  • Experience has shown that each notched lobster will probably go through two breeding cycles before the mark grows out and it can legally be landed.

grow out of

Become too large to wear (a garment): blazers that they grew out of
More example sentences
  • Then there are doctor's bills and medicine and clothes that they grow out of practically before they have a chance to wear them.
  • If the school has a long list of uniform requirements the costs can mount up rapidly, particularly as the child might quickly grow out of an expensive blazer or need new sports shoes.
  • I made my bed thoughtfully - it was lucky I was nearing sixteen and wasn't going to be here long enough to grow out of my clothes and then be made to wear second hands.
5.1Become too mature to retain (a childish habit): most children grow out of tantrums by the time they’re three
More example sentences
  • As it happens, lying was a habit my friend grew out of.
  • It's much easier to go along with your toddler and humour his needs until he grows out of these strange habits.
  • I do blame smoking in public for my habit, alongside peer pressure - something you never grow out of.

grow up

Advance to maturity; spend one’s childhood and adolescence: I grew up in a small town in Michigan
More example sentences
  • Longing to be an adult is part of growing up, part of the normal expression of most children's fantasy lives.
  • Would it be better to treat children like adults while they are growing up?
  • Not surprisingly, when these children grow up to be young adults, they do just that.
[often in imperative]6.1 Begin to behave or think sensibly and realistically: grow up, sister, and come into the real world
More example sentences
  • On the day when it begins to discipline itself with a self-denying ordinance we shall know it has begun to grow up.
  • Just as childhood friendships fall apart when one friend grows up faster than the other, it couldn't make the leap to next generation consoles.
6.2Arise; develop: a school of painting grew up in Cuzco
More example sentences
  • Cities in Afghanistan didn't grow because of the rivers; they grew up because they were on the ring road or connected to it.
  • Second, it seeks to reverse the insidious culture of division that has grown up around the existence of these principles.
  • At some point, a complex wooden network began to grow up the walls of the entrance area.



Pronunciation: /ˈɡrōəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • ‘I'd set the guy up with a growable swap file,’ he said.


Old English grōwan (originally referring chiefly to plants), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch groeien, also to grass and green.

  • grass from Old English:

    The Old English word grass is descended from the same root word as both green and grow (Old English). According to the well-known saying, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, a sentiment echoed in the works of the Roman poet Ovid: ‘The harvest is always more fruitful in another man's fields.’ A woman whose husband is often away for long periods can be referred to as a grass widow. In the early 16th century, though, this was a term for an unmarried woman with a child, probably from the idea of the couple having lain on the grass together instead of in bed. People have been smoking grass, or cannabis, since the 1940s, originally in the USA. The word has meant ‘an informer’, or ‘to inform’ since the decade before that. In this sense it is probably short for grasshopper, rhyming slang for shopper, a person who ‘shops’ someone. Graze (Middle English) is from Old English grasian ‘eat grass’. See also nark

Words that rhyme with grow

aglow, ago, alow, although, apropos, art nouveau, Bamako, Bardot, beau, Beaujolais Nouveau, below, bestow, blow, bo, Boileau, bons mots, Bordeaux, Bow, bravo, bro, cachepot, cheerio, Coe, crow, Defoe, de trop, doe, doh, dos-à-dos, do-si-do, dough, dzo, Flo, floe, flow, foe, foreknow, foreshow, forgo, Foucault, froe, glow, go, good-oh, go-slow, gung-ho, Heathrow, heave-ho, heigh-ho, hello, ho, hoe, ho-ho, jo, Joe, kayo, know, lo, low, maillot, malapropos, Marceau, mho, Miró, mo, Mohs, Monroe, mot, mow, Munro, no, Noh, no-show, oh, oho, outgo, outgrow, owe, Perrault, pho, po, Poe, pro, quid pro quo, reshow, righto, roe, Rouault, row, Rowe, sew, shew, show, sloe, slow, snow, so, soh, sow, status quo, stow, Stowe, strow, tally-ho, though, throw, tic-tac-toe, to-and-fro, toe, touch-and-go, tow, trow, undergo, undersow, voe, whacko, whoa, wo, woe, Xuzhou, yo, yo-ho-ho, Zhengzhou, Zhou

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: grow

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