Definition of proliferation in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˌlifəˈrāSH(ə)n/


1Rapid increase in numbers: a continuing threat of nuclear proliferation
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  • The threat of nuclear proliferation will abate as dangerous stockpiles of atomic weapons are quickly used up.
  • He wants to stop nuclear proliferation with more nuclear proliferation.
  • Meanwhile, proliferation was increasing the danger of nuclear terrorism.
1.1Rapid reproduction of a cell, part, or organism: we attempted to measure cell proliferation
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  • Multicellular organisms grow through both proliferation and growth of their individual cells.
  • In vitro experiments on cell proliferation, membrane properties, and ion channels are difficult to extrapolate to humans.
  • Apoptosis is a ubiquitous process by which multicellular organisms are able to maintain a balance between cell proliferation and death.
1.2 [in singular] A large number of something: stress levels are high, forcing upon them a proliferation of ailments
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  • Smith said both resorts suffered from a proliferation of poor quality housing, especially old guesthouses filled by the homeless.
  • Hence, the expansion of the number of countries led to a proliferation of currencies.
  • There is a proliferation of religious discourses centering on spirits, spirit possession, and witchcraft.


Mid 19th century: from French prolifération, from prolifère 'proliferous'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pro·lif·er·a·tion

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