Definition of build in English:

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Pronunciation: /bɪld/

verb (past and past participle built /bɪlt/)

[with object]
1Construct (something) by putting parts or material together: the ironworks were built in 1736
More example sentences
  • A swarm of bees cooperates to construct a hive. Humans group together to build towns, cities, and nations.
  • They were fun, but what I remember was that Papa got down on the floor with me and we built things together.
  • A small fort was built out of the material of the stranded vessel and a crew left in charge of it to start a small settlement on the island.
construct, erect, put up, assemble, set up, raise
make, construct, fabricate, form, manufacture, create, fashion, model, mould, shape, forge
informal knock together
1.1Commission, finance, and oversee the building of (something): the county council plans to build a bypass
More example sentences
  • The $1 million facility was built and financed by the town and is being leased by Mediplan.
  • Mrs Jones said that at the moment the PCT would not be able to finance the cost of building a new facility.
  • It's hopeless for the Housing Commission to build estates of this kind.
1.2 (build something in/into) Incorporate something and make it a permanent part of a structure, system, or situation: engineers want to build in extra traction
More example sentences
  • The universe may not seem to make any more sense to you if your cosmogony is scientific rather than religious in nature, but in the end there is no escape from the fact that in the evolution of living systems the bias is built in.
  • But in every other way, this particular pontificate has been very much a pontificate that has given great respect and credence to women, and has built their participation into the structures.
  • But they have already paid the huge costs of building a complete infrastructure and have built the fees into their rate structures.
incorporate in/into, include in, embody in, absorb into, subsume into, assimilate into
1.3 Computing Compile (a program, database, index, etc.): you can build database applications without writing any code
More example sentences
  • We're building a huge online database of how the human race looks at life, how it works, thinks and responds.
  • KSycoca reads all configuration files and builds a binary database which can be accessed much faster than the individual, text-based files.
  • The software basically enables you to build a database of different movies.
2Make or become stronger or more intense: [with object]: we built up confidence in our abilities [no object]: the air of excited anticipation builds
More example sentences
  • Kenmare Golf Club has built up a strong and solid reputation over the years.
  • The track built up the anticipation before bouncing around and around the Jazz Café's walls and into the ears.
  • On the afternoon of 4 November 1973, intense thunderstorms built up west of Brisbane.
boost, strengthen, increase, improve, invigorate, augment, raise, intensify, enhance, escalate, multiply, swell
informal beef up
2.1Establish and develop (a business or situation) over a period of time: he’d built up the store from nothing
More example sentences
  • Mr Hussain built up the business when he took over in April last year after a previous arson attack caused £500,000 of damage.
  • The prize-winning herd, established in 1964, was built up to 70 cows, plus followers.
  • Scots settled across the Empire as it developed and built up their own communities such as Dunedin in New Zealand.
establish, found, set up, originate, institute, start, begin, inaugurate, initiate, put in place, constitute, secure
establish, set up, form, found, institute, start, begin, bring into being, create, inaugurate, organize;
develop, expand, enlarge
2.2 [no object] (build on) Use as a basis for further development: Britain should build on the talents of its workforce
More example sentences
  • We do have the basis to build on and are going into the match against Ireland with much more confidence.
  • In different towns, united coalitions are already being built on the basis of this appeal.
  • In the U.S. he can do research that builds on the latest developments and can produce work others will draw on.
expand on, enlarge on, develop, elaborate, flesh out, add flesh to, add detail to, embellish, enhance, amplify;
refine, improve, polish, perfect


1 [mass noun] The proportions of a person’s or animal’s body: she was of medium height and slim build [in singular]: he had an ideal build for a sprinter
More example sentences
  • Katherine is described as 5ft 4ins tall and of slim build, with shoulder length brown hair and blue eyes.
  • Judging by their build and scarred bodies, they had definitely seen a few fights in an earlier life.
  • Shymala enjoys the facility and vivacity frequently seen in small dancers, tidy in build, ideally proportioned.
physique, frame, body, figure, form, structure, shape, make-up, formation, stature;
informal chassis, vital statistics
2The style or form of construction of something, especially a vehicle: the car’s high specification and impressive build quality
More example sentences
  • Reliability shouldn't be a problem either, the manufacturer having a good build quality these days.
  • On the build quality front, though, they're all square and both are excellent.
  • The public have realised that the build quality on the cars is high and that the prices give them great value for money.
3 Computing A compiled version of a program: a beta build of the program
More example sentences
  • For workstations, standard system builds or images with commonly used software should be established for groups of users.
  • They have slightly different builds and firmware, and they work differently.
  • Both provide native builds and clear, intuitive installers.
3.1 [mass noun] The process of compiling a program.
Example sentences
  • The LinuxBIOS build process bears little resemblance to the Linux kernel build process.
  • He said, though, Microsoft hoped to resolve these kinds of problems in the future by moving testing into the software build process.
  • Yet there is rarely enough time set aside for that in the software build process.



build one's hopes up

Become ever more hopeful or optimistic about something: don’t build your hopes up, Julia, you’ll only get hurt
More example sentences
  • We had been building our hopes up of getting into the Premiership, but then had it snatched away from us at the very end.
  • You know at every stage of in vitro fertilisation that treatment could fail so it's best not to build your hopes up.
  • I knew I would walk again although I was told not to build my hopes up too high.

built on sand

Without reliable foundations or any real substance: with the benefit of hindsight it can be seen that his argument was built on sand
More example sentences
  • The whole school system is built on sand because it is trying to teach children who lack social stability.
  • It is only in the hindsight that life reveals whether the foundation is built on sand or stone.
  • Your Honour, I want to emphasise, this is a foundation built on sand.


Old English byldan, from bold, botl 'dwelling', of Germanic origin; related to bower1.

Words that rhyme with build

deskilled, gild, guild, self-willed, sild, unfilled, unfulfilled, unskilled, untilled, upbuild

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: build

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