Definition of enlarge in English:



  • 1Make or become larger or more extensive.

    with object ‘recently my son enlarged our garden pond’
    • ‘We always seemed to have builders around us, extending and enlarging what was quickly becoming too small a premises for the rapidly expanding wholesale business.’
    • ‘Through 200 years they built and enlarged the great mosque in the center of the city.’
    • ‘The liver and spleen may enlarge, so that they can be felt on either side, just below the ribs.’
    • ‘The tragedy enlarges through the day as war rages on in distant Iraq.’
    • ‘We must also refine and enlarge our understanding of what constitutes human progress.’
    • ‘Mr Bullimore said the farmer had a pond on his land enlarged and fenced off a 50m by 25m enclosure.’
    • ‘He expands his fortune and enlarges his house.’
    • ‘The intention was to convert the ground floor of a house into a farm shop, replace and enlarge the garden centre and coffee shop and landscape an overflow car park.’
    • ‘In other words council will continue and seek to enlarge its land development activities.’
    • ‘The owners have had the property enlarged and carried out extensive modernisation.’
    • ‘If it persists or enlarges during the follow up period, it can be removed surgically.’
    • ‘Boys become fitter and stronger, the shoulders enlarge and the legs lengthen.’
    • ‘The main points in the strategy are to preserve the company's line of business and to secure funds for enlarging and upgrading its fleet.’
    • ‘The first will be opened later this month and the developer plans to enlarge the marinas so they may hold over 30 boats in the future.’
    • ‘She complained that the lesion had appeared recently and was enlarging.’
    • ‘Also, we have been increasing the number of recruiters, enlarging bonuses and developing other initiatives to further encourage volunteers.’
    • ‘When the heart is forced to work extra hard for an extended period of time, it tends to enlarge.’
    • ‘It enlarges and focuses the image onto your wall.’
    • ‘Family members continued to build up and enlarge the house over a period of 150 years.’
    • ‘As smaller countries, their voting rights should be reduced in the new EU, which enlarges from 15 to 25 members next year.’
    become bigger, make bigger, become larger, make larger, become greater, make greater, increase in size, grow, expand
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Develop a larger print of (a photograph)
      ‘very often a favourite photograph is enlarged and framed’
      • ‘He invested in a digital video camera with an eye to making video, but found himself fascinated by enlarging still images on multiple pieces of paper on his inkjet printer.’
      • ‘Each winning photograph has also been enlarged and framed as a memento of the event.’
      • ‘He in turn captured them perfectly with his camera, and enlarging them added to their splendour.’
      • ‘She often enlarges aerial views and other scenes to a size at which the viewer feels unbalanced due to the lack of recognizable perspective.’
      • ‘You can print it as-is, taking up less than the full page, or enlarge it to fill the page as much as possible.’
      • ‘Photographs can be enlarged, so that even the impressions of the writings on stones could be clearly seen.’
      • ‘The camera obscura was widely used in the 18th and 19th centuries for copying pictures and prints, and for reducing or enlarging their sizes in the process.’
      • ‘Photo-finishing services can easily make copies while enlarging the print if desired and repairing any damage that has been done to the old photo.’
      • ‘She was on her way back from the forensics lab where she used their dark room to enlarge the photo of their suspect.’
      • ‘By clicking on each image, the physician can further enlarge the photograph to full screen size.’
      • ‘So if you want to print your own photos and enlarge some of them, you will want to have a high resolution camera and shoot at the highest resolution possible.’
      • ‘She enlarges this image as a laser print and then, following the photograph's main outlines, overpaints large sections of it with flat expanses of acrylic in muted tones.’
      • ‘With the spread of the internet and the computer, people can make something, print it out and enlarge it.’
      • ‘The photographs were then enlarged and the diameters were determined by scale measurements from the size marker.’
      • ‘I decided to enlarge the photo to include a white field below the original image.’
      • ‘He first invents paintings and then photographs them, enlarging the images so that they take on a soft focus that seems to undermine the accuracy and truth of photography.’
      • ‘The pictures are ‘ideal for enlarging and for use at political rallies and demonstrations’!’
      • ‘Up until this point I have been using Kodak film and having my negatives printed off and enlarging and framing them.’
      • ‘The resulting digital image has been enlarged and printed onto arches paper.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • enlarge on/upon

    • Speak or write about (something) in greater detail.

      ‘I would like to enlarge on this theme’
      • ‘Before discussing how he proposed to get from the state of nature to civil society, it is worth enlarging on the details of the argument, all of which have proved contentious for generations of Hobbes's readers.’
      • ‘The same authors wrote both books, enlarging upon the first with new information, and ending with the 1940s rather than about 1920.’
      • ‘In the second, Sayers develops and enlarges upon a number of the central themes of her understanding of Christianity.’
      • ‘That brings me on to your recommendation that you need dedicated grievance managers; would you like to enlarge on that?’
      • ‘As you would expect, there are extensive footnotes, enlarging on the points made in the text, and there is a substantial list of references.’
      • ‘While agreeing with him, I would like to enlarge on his arguments.’
      • ‘Would you like to enlarge on your views in that area?’
      • ‘The report enlarges on this theme.’
      • ‘As we began to create, just with a black wax pencil or black charcoal, enlarging on our chosen section, or erasing parts of it, it was amazing to see what both trained and untutored members of the class could do.’
      • ‘Apart from ‘some environmental benefits’ which have not been enlarged upon, no one has explained why the closure of Frenches Road is so important.’
      elaborate on, expand on, add to, build on, flesh out, add flesh to, put flesh on the bones of, add detail to, expatiate on
      View synonyms


Middle English (formerly also as inlarge): from Old French enlarger, from en- (expressing a change of state) + large ‘large’.