Definition of amplify in English:



[with object]
  • 1Increase the volume of (sound), especially using an amplifier.

    ‘the accompanying chords have been amplified in our arrangement’
    • ‘The Navy concluded that the presence of the whales in an ocean channel with calm water, which amplifies sound, caused the sonar to damage their ears.’
    • ‘Maple was chosen for the flooring, not only for its attractive finish but also because the surface amplifies the sound of movement, giving the impression of a thriving workplace.’
    • ‘Finally, good sound systems only amplify bad sound.’
    • ‘The report of a rifle is reduced to at least 92 decibels, but at the same time quieter sounds are amplified.’
    • ‘One of the very best ‘demonstration’ examples is hearing protectors that amplify natural sounds, yet protect the ears against harmful noise.’
    • ‘Every sound was amplified by the metal floor and the cavernously high steel ceiling.’
    • ‘They are sounded by striking the fork so that it vibrates; holding the stem against a wooden surface causes the surface to vibrate in sympathy as a soundboard, amplifying the sound.’
    • ‘This material, being light and moderately flexible, tends to amplify the sound of rushing water, especially in vertical piping where the flow is rapid.’
    • ‘You can also improve the sound quality by changing the sample and bit rate or amplifying the sound.’
    • ‘He said he has spent hundreds of pounds on equipment, including a bionic ear that amplifies sound by 36 times, a two-way radio with a radius of three miles, a night vision monocular and a searchlight.’
    • ‘And, like many of today's electronic muffs, it amplifies ambient sound and shuts down when the noise reaches a preset level.’
    • ‘A microphone picks up ambient sound and amplifies it, and volume control allows you to adjust the level.’
    • ‘They bark to attract mates and warn off rivals; the funnel shape of their burrow amplifies the sound.’
    • ‘Hearing aids just amplify sounds that are distorted without the hearing device; they don't necessarily reduce the distortion.’
    • ‘But it took years to realize its ability to amplify sound and thus its wireless applications.’
    • ‘Once this is done, you would need to place as many as 400 small speakers in various parts of the room so that the sound wave can be amplified.’
    • ‘The one bit of cooperation they were unable to get was the right to amplify sound (apparently they don't want the serene nature of Time's Square polluted by noise), so we watched without commentary.’
    • ‘People didn't know what they were for ages and ages and then suddenly, about 20 years ago people began to think, yeah, these cells are the cells which have a really important role in our hearing; they're the cells which amplify the sound.’
    • ‘As the insects rub the scraper against the file, the wings amplify the sound, making it loud enough for other insects to hear.’
    • ‘That maneuver will only slightly amplify sounds and it leads you to listen too briefly.’
    louden, make louder, turn up, increase, boost, step up, raise, magnify, intensify, escalate, swell, heighten
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Increase the amplitude of (an electrical signal or other oscillation)
      ‘the manufacturers have developed a system of amplifying the radio signal’
      • ‘A digital radio frequency transmitter system having an input circuit for receiving digital signals to be amplified and transmitted.’
      • ‘The photon stimulates other excited states to release photons of the same energy, thus amplifying the signal and forming a laser beam.’
      • ‘And they say they have some sort of gear I can wear that will amplify neural signals or something and will help too.’
      • ‘As conventional transistors shrink in size, they lose their ability to amplify signals, and thus their very status as transistors.’
      • ‘A variable gain amplifier variably amplifies a monitor signal according to the operating mode determined by the gate and outputs an amplified monitor signal.’
      • ‘The first sampling transistor is configured to sample the same RF input signal that is amplified by the amplifier transistor.’
      • ‘The use of a ratiometric approach serves to amplify the fluorescent signal, and corrects for focal changes over the course of the test.’
      • ‘If you are trying to amplify a signal, you may be just amplifying this noise.’
      • ‘To amplify the signal, we use a transimpedance amplifier, which also converts the output current of the photodetector to a voltage.’
      • ‘Other electronic sensing devices depend on a mechanical sensor like a Bourdon tube or a diaphragm to register a change in pressure, and then they use electronic components to amplify and transmit the signal.’
      • ‘A satellite TV system consists of a dish that captures the TV signal broadcast from a satellite, and a receiver that amplifies the signal and sends it to a television.’
      • ‘This system reads out the chemical changes electronically, amplifies the electronic signal and further processes it.’
      • ‘Quite simply, the signals need to be amplified.’
      • ‘By placing the sample to be analyzed inside a laser's light amplification cavity, the Soviet scientists found they could amplify faint signals from just a few molecules of gases that would otherwise go undetected.’
      • ‘The signals were amplified to volt levels and sampled by using a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter.’
      • ‘The thermopile used a stack of tightly packed metal plates to amplify the photoelectric signal.’
      • ‘The researchers have even managed to demonstrate an ambipolar field effect transistor (a transistor commonly used to amplify a weak signal, such as a wireless signal) that works under ambient conditions.’
      • ‘The atoms, according to this scheme, all work in concert with one another to amplify the signal, making it a billion times stronger than the older theory could account for.’
      • ‘A circuit amplifies the signals to give them the proper frequency weighting, and the network combines the outputs nonlinearly to approximate the true magnitude of ambient magnetic fields impacting the body.’
      • ‘Vacuum tubes were the only technology available at the time to amplify signals or serve as switching devices in electronics.’
    2. 1.2 Make (something) more marked or intense.
      ‘urban policy initiatives amplified social polarization’
      • ‘Each piece is untitled, thus amplifying the notion of uncharted discovery.’
      • ‘Indeed, the intensity of belonging to a culture of extremity is repeatedly amplified through the media.’
      • ‘Conversely, rejected children can be subjected to negative experiences that shape their attitudes toward other people in a way that amplifies antisocial behaviors such as aggression or social withdrawal.’
      • ‘He has a cranky Luddite streak, and he may be amplifying it for comic effect.’
      • ‘The distorted thinking of some parents who regard their children as mere possessions instead of treating them as independent people only amplifies the social tragedy.’
      • ‘For centuries native tribesmen in remote areas of Ghana, South Africa have utilized an assortment of herbs for their ability to amplify virility, heighten sexual potency and promote strength before battle.’
      • ‘This does not imply a policing policy that dictates arts production and amplifies ethnic divisions.’
      • ‘In its images, its language, costumes, and lighting, it seeks to recall and amplify the great noir films of the forties and fifties; but it's a hollow construction, because the vital vision has vanished from its core.’
      • ‘It is like a mirror, reflecting the society's ills and triumphs and often amplifying them, like a lens.’
      • ‘Terminology aside, it is clear that the capacity of social groups to amplify emotion could not exist were it not for the individual ability to take on board someone else's emotion and feel it in one's own heart.’
      • ‘Rather than seek to round it out or fill it in, the best managers do everything they can to sharpen and amplify that uniqueness.’
      • ‘That it occurred during a time of great social upheaval in America and the broader west only amplifies its perceived impact.’
      • ‘He said after issuing the draft forensic report in April, ‘I deemed it necessary to amplify some issues.’’
      • ‘Group polarization can amplify the mutual resolve of those in a self-help group.’
      • ‘But current policies amplify this set of circumstances.’
      • ‘The difficulties for youth in obtaining an education are amplified by limited opportunities for work, while social problems among young people are increasing.’
      • ‘The battle between the evolutionists and the creationists is a peculiarly tragic one, because it is amplifying the worst tendencies of both sides, and making it more and more difficult for most people to find a resolution.’
      • ‘Sometimes, in fact, modernity can be harnessed to extend and even amplify tradition.’
      • ‘The casino scenes try to pick up and amplify various characters as the camera moves around and there are several occasions where the speakers can't keep up.’
      • ‘She de-magnifies the body and amplifies the urban landscape.’
      escalate, step up, boost, increase, raise, sharpen, strengthen, augment, add to, concentrate, reinforce
      View synonyms
  • 2Enlarge upon or add detail to (a story or statement)

    ‘the notes amplify information contained in the statement’
    • ‘In his oral evidence, he amplified his statement.’
    • ‘And now the blogosphere is amplifying on the story.’
    • ‘Collectively, its editorials, columns and Op-Eds have served mainly to reinforce, amplify and promote the Administration's case for regime change.’
    • ‘The herd amplifies a sensational story, and then it moves on.’
    • ‘He amplifies that statement: ‘Design leadership was our only option.’’
    • ‘The endnotes are primarily scholarly citations of sources, while the footnotes amplify, explain, or illuminate details or side stories.’
    • ‘He has gone into greater detail, amplifying here, modifying there, basically not changing the overall picture but certainly giving the reader a better understanding of the issues involved.’
    • ‘They amplified simple stories with such emotional reverberations that they became elemental and overpowering, like a force of nature.’
    • ‘These young officers could not only deliver a message, they could amplify upon it by answering questions based on their understanding of the situation and the commander's intent.’
    • ‘Many respondents wrote extensive and illuminating commentaries to amplify their yes or no responses, which make the data far richer than the simple percentages given above.’
    • ‘So he had no cause to amplify the statement that the ‘essential factor in determining liability is whether the damage is of such a kind as the reasonable man should have foreseen’.’
    • ‘To begin with, I should reiterate and amplify my statement above that I was paying for this purchase with a credit card.’
    • ‘The outcome of any public discussion can never be known with certainty, but chances are that it will amplify stories that imply risks of higher oil prices.’
    • ‘Many painted a picture of a prison in disarray, a description that was amplified last week by the report of an independent commission.’
    • ‘Using perfectly composed shots to amplify an emotionally resonant story, the film successfully argues that ‘artistic’ films do not have to be boring.’
    • ‘This workshop is designed for those photographers who already have a collection of images and who would like to further amplify and extend the expressive content of their work.’
    • ‘Such new methods can serve to amplify and further detail the established concepts about the central regulation of gastrointestinal motility, but little or nothing about the more important peripheral control mechanisms.’
    • ‘But what about the hair, sir, could you expand and amplify on the subject of your hair?’
    • ‘Then there is power for the witness to be able to amplify his statement.’
    expand, enlarge on, elaborate on, add to, develop, flesh out, add flesh to, add detail to, go into detail about, embroider, supplement, augment, reinforce
    View synonyms
  • 3Genetics
    Make multiple copies of (a gene or DNA sequence)

    ‘genomic DNA was amplified using the polymerase chain reaction’
    • ‘The gene is intronless, so the coding sequence can almost completely be amplified and sequenced from genomic DNA.’
    • ‘Primers were designed to amplify this gene sequence specifically.’
    • ‘Species-specific primers were developed to amplify the PBP gene region, and three individuals were sequenced directly from these PCR products.’
    • ‘Genes were amplified from genomic yeast DNA using specific oligonucleotides and the polymerase chain reaction.’
    • ‘We performed PCR on wild-type mouse genomic DNA to amplify sequences flanking transposon insertion sites for use as probes.’


Late Middle English (in the general sense ‘increase, augment’): from Old French amplifier, from Latin amplificare, from amplus ‘large, abundant’.