Definition of amplify in English:



  • 1Increase the volume of (sound), especially using an amplifier.

    ‘amplified pop music’
    • ‘Every sound was amplified by the metal floor and the cavernously high steel ceiling.’
    • ‘Finally, good sound systems only amplify bad sound.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And, like many of today's electronic muffs, it amplifies ambient sound and shuts down when the noise reaches a preset level.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A microphone picks up ambient sound and amplifies it, and volume control allows you to adjust the level.’
    • ‘That maneuver will only slightly amplify sounds and it leads you to listen too briefly.’
    • ‘But it took years to realize its ability to amplify sound and thus its wireless applications.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You can also improve the sound quality by changing the sample and bit rate or amplifying the sound.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hearing aids just amplify sounds that are distorted without the hearing device; they don't necessarily reduce the distortion.’
    • ‘As the insects rub the scraper against the file, the wings amplify the sound, making it loud enough for other insects to hear.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘They bark to attract mates and warn off rivals; the funnel shape of their burrow amplifies the sound.’
    louden, make louder, turn up, increase, boost, step up, raise, magnify, intensify, escalate, swell, heighten
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    1. 1.1 Increase the amplitude of (an electrical signal or other oscillation)
      ‘the manufacturers have developed a system of amplifying the radio signal’
      • ‘This system reads out the chemical changes electronically, amplifies the electronic signal and further processes it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To amplify the signal, we use a transimpedance amplifier, which also converts the output current of the photodetector to a voltage.’
      • ‘As conventional transistors shrink in size, they lose their ability to amplify signals, and thus their very status as transistors.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you are trying to amplify a signal, you may be just amplifying this noise.’
      • ‘The use of a ratiometric approach serves to amplify the fluorescent signal, and corrects for focal changes over the course of the test.’
      • ‘The first sampling transistor is configured to sample the same RF input signal that is amplified by the amplifier transistor.’
      • ‘The photon stimulates other excited states to release photons of the same energy, thus amplifying the signal and forming a laser beam.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The signals were amplified to volt levels and sampled by using a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter.’
      • ‘And they say they have some sort of gear I can wear that will amplify neural signals or something and will help too.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A digital radio frequency transmitter system having an input circuit for receiving digital signals to be amplified and transmitted.’
      • ‘A variable gain amplifier variably amplifies a monitor signal according to the operating mode determined by the gate and outputs an amplified monitor signal.’
    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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But current policies amplify this set of circumstances.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The difficulties for youth in obtaining an education are amplified by limited opportunities for work, while social problems among young people are increasing.’
      • ‘He said after issuing the draft forensic report in April, ‘I deemed it necessary to amplify some issues.’’
      • ‘Indeed, the intensity of belonging to a culture of extremity is repeatedly amplified through the media.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That it occurred during a time of great social upheaval in America and the broader west only amplifies its perceived impact.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is like a mirror, reflecting the society's ills and triumphs and often amplifying them, like a lens.’
      • ‘She de-magnifies the body and amplifies the urban landscape.’
      • ‘Rather than seek to round it out or fill it in, the best managers do everything they can to sharpen and amplify that uniqueness.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This does not imply a policing policy that dictates arts production and amplifies ethnic divisions.’
      • ‘Group polarization can amplify the mutual resolve of those in a self-help group.’
      escalate, step up, boost, increase, raise, sharpen, strengthen, augment, add to, concentrate, reinforce
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  • 2Enlarge upon or add detail to (a story or statement)

    ‘the notes amplify information contained in the statement’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The endnotes are primarily scholarly citations of sources, while the footnotes amplify, explain, or illuminate details or side stories.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The herd amplifies a sensational story, and then it moves on.’
    • ‘Collectively, its editorials, columns and Op-Eds have served mainly to reinforce, amplify and promote the Administration's case for regime change.’
    • ‘To begin with, I should reiterate and amplify my statement above that I was paying for this purchase with a credit card.’
    • ‘They amplified simple stories with such emotional reverberations that they became elemental and overpowering, like a force of nature.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He amplifies that statement: ‘Design leadership was our only option.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In his oral evidence, he amplified his statement.’
    • ‘And now the blogosphere is amplifying on the story.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’.’
    expand, enlarge on, elaborate on, add to, develop, flesh out, add flesh to, add detail to, go into detail about, embroider, supplement, augment, reinforce
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  • 3Genetics
    Make multiple copies of (a gene or DNA sequence)

    ‘genomic DNA was amplified using the polymerase chain reaction’
    • ‘Primers were designed to amplify this gene sequence specifically.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Species-specific primers were developed to amplify the PBP gene region, and three individuals were sequenced directly from these PCR products.’
    • ‘The gene is intronless, so the coding sequence can almost completely be amplified and sequenced from genomic DNA.’


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