Definition of proliferate in English:



  • 1 Increase rapidly in number; multiply.

    ‘the science fiction magazines which proliferated in the 1920s’
    • ‘Operating systems, application environments and hardware platforms for mobile devices are proliferating at an alarming rate.’
    • ‘As technology proliferated with the digital revolution, we gradually became more accepting of being under constant watch.’
    • ‘Online support and discussion groups on every disease and health care topic have proliferated rapidly.’
    • ‘As contexts proliferate, objects accrue multiple layers of meaning, not all of which necessarily agree.’
    • ‘Country fairs have proliferated to the extent that the season must be extended to fit them all in.’
    • ‘The literature on the work-family interface has proliferated in the last two decades.’
    • ‘Studies on escalating student debt will proliferate.’
    • ‘As stories like this proliferate, we become increasingly fearful for York's future.’
    • ‘In the last few years, technology parks have proliferated in the main industrial areas and near universities and R&D centers.’
    • ‘Now, technology is burgeoning and proliferating, and again there is fear.’
    • ‘In recent years, these judge shows have proliferated at an astonishing rate.’
    • ‘The photo quickly proliferates among the residents of Springfield until Homer is catching giggles and glances from everyone.’
    • ‘The book is timely, because studies of mating behavior are rapidly proliferating.’
    • ‘Many of their books, films, and other interpretive works have proliferated since the mid-1990s.’
    • ‘Moreover, as regulations proliferate, there is increased demand for exceptions that can sensitively accommodate religious needs.’
    • ‘The number and kind of private joint-stock companies quickly proliferated.’
    • ‘One advantage, the developers claim, is that only one remote control will be needed instead of the multiple controls now proliferating in the average household.’
    • ‘Multiple variations quickly proliferate into thousands of different model numbers.’
    • ‘There, non-governmental groups are proliferating as poverty increases and trade liberalisation undermines local economies.’
    • ‘If standards slide as Asian clinics proliferate and competition increases, patients will suffer.’
    increase rapidly, grow rapidly, multiply, become more numerous, mushroom, snowball, burgeon, escalate, rocket, run riot
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    1. 1.1(of a cell, structure, or organism) reproduce rapidly.
      ‘cultured cells often proliferate indefinitely’
      • ‘When active, the stem cells proliferate and expand, building up the follicle and producing cells that make new hair.’
      • ‘He found that the leukemic cells stopped proliferating in vitro when the drug was present.’
      • ‘The cells remaining in the ruptured follicle proliferate rapidly and form the corpus luteum.’
      • ‘Apoptosis is a normal and essential part of early development, when brain cells proliferate rapidly and some are killed off, but little is known about how apoptosis of growing neurons is regulated.’
      • ‘These influences all contribute to an environment that allows hematopoietic progenitor cells to proliferate and differentiate normally.’
      • ‘This work tests the novel notion that cancer cells co-opt cellular pathways that govern metabolism in order to proliferate beyond a cell's normal means.’
      • ‘If this process of self-protection does not work then the destructive cells can proliferate uncontrollably.’
      • ‘Thus, eye disc cells continue to proliferate until an even larger ecdysone pulse occurs during the middle of the pupal period.’
      • ‘Stem cells are precursor cells that can proliferate, differentiate, and self-renew.’
      • ‘It seems as if viruses are proliferating more rapidly than ever.’
      • ‘Sometimes, however, they can make them ‘immortal’ - transforming a normal cell into a cancerous cell that proliferates indefinitely.’
      • ‘If cloning by fission is viewed more generally as a form of tissue modeling seen in all metazoans, in which some cells proliferate and others die, knowledge from other organisms can suggest candidate genes.’
      • ‘Inside of this zone, undifferentiated xylem cells without secondary walls proliferated through mitotic activity.’
      • ‘They also proliferate, multiplying to increase the response to the wound.’
      • ‘Satellite cells proliferate, differentiate, and fuse with existing myofibers.’
      • ‘Under typical growth conditions, on the other hand, persisters hardly grow at all, while normal cells rapidly proliferate.’
      • ‘Upon muscle injury, these cells undergo mitosis, proliferate, form syncytium and ultimately form new skeletal myocytes.’
      • ‘Cytokines are secreted proteins that induce cells to proliferate and differentiate.’
      • ‘If you have any cells with estrogen receptors and you put more estrogen into the body, you're going to stimulate those cells to proliferate and divide.’
      • ‘Several forms of cancer involve the inactivation of the apoptotic process, thus enabling the cancer cells to continue to proliferate.’
      reproduce, multiply, breed, procreate, increase, spawn
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    2. 1.2[with object]Cause (cells, tissue, structures, etc.) to reproduce rapidly.
      ‘electromagnetic radiation can only proliferate cancers already present’
      • ‘At the time, the notion that we could proliferate stem cells from an adult kidney, or any other organ for that matter, was hardly the conventional wisdom that it is today.’
      • ‘In later life we are not supposed to continue to proliferate tissue at a rapid rate, grow, and accumulate mass, but rather to mature.’


Late 19th century: back-formation from proliferation.