Definition of proliferate in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈlifəˌrāt/


[no object]
1Increase rapidly in numbers; multiply: the science fiction magazines that proliferated in the 1920s
More example sentences
  • One advantage, the developers claim, is that only one remote control will be needed instead of the multiple controls now proliferating in the average household.
  • Now, technology is burgeoning and proliferating, and again there is fear.
  • There, non-governmental groups are proliferating as poverty increases and trade liberalisation undermines local economies.
increase rapidly, grow rapidly, multiply, rocket, mushroom, snowball, burgeon, run riot
1.1(Of a cell, structure, or organism) reproduce rapidly: the Mediterranean faces an ecological disaster if the seaweed continues to proliferate at its present rate
More example sentences
  • Thus, eye disc cells continue to proliferate until an even larger ecdysone pulse occurs during the middle of the pupal period.
  • When active, the stem cells proliferate and expand, building up the follicle and producing cells that make new hair.
  • Under typical growth conditions, on the other hand, persisters hardly grow at all, while normal cells rapidly proliferate.
1.2 [with object] Cause (cells, tissue, structures, etc.) to reproduce rapidly: electromagnetic radiation can only proliferate cancers already present
More example sentences
  • At the time, the notion that we could proliferate stem cells from an adult kidney, or any other organ for that matter, was hardly the conventional wisdom that it is today.
  • In later life we are not supposed to continue to proliferate tissue at a rapid rate, grow, and accumulate mass, but rather to mature.



Pronunciation: /-ˌrātiv/
Example sentences
  • In mammals, germ cells undergo a small number of proliferative mitotic cell divisions as they migrate to the gonad.
  • They subsequently determined that cells within the ribbon were dividing, implying that they were part of a region of proliferative stem cells.
  • Flies homozygous for such hypomorphic mutations reach adulthood, but often exhibit defects during the proliferative stages of gametogenesis.


Pronunciation: /-ˌrātər/
Example sentences
  • The possessors want to stop the proliferators, and the proliferators want to defy them as well as ask them to get rid of their own mountainous nuclear arsenals.
  • It was noted that even within a class of chemicals such as peroxisome proliferators, individual chemicals had differing target organs and mechanisms of toxicity.
  • Binding of the complex to gene regulatory sites on the DNA, termed ‘peroxisome proliferator response elements,’ leads to the increased transcription of numerous genes.


Late 19th century: back-formation from proliferation.

Words that rhyme with proliferate


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pro·lif·er·ate

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