Definition of develop in US English:



  • 1Grow or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate.

    no object ‘motion pictures developed into mass entertainment’
    ‘this is a rapidly developing field’
    with object ‘entrepreneurs develop their skills through trial and error’
    • ‘But how many have developed into mature teachers of the type described above?’
    • ‘As she grows up and matures, you will notice many of these childhood traits develop into adult ones.’
    • ‘The analogy is broadly applicable: good designing is a skill developed in the field, not in a tournament.’
    • ‘Caterpillars grown from larvae and chrysalises developed into butterflies.’
    • ‘As he grew he developed into a fine-looking man, and his master's wife noticed.’
    • ‘In the late nineteenth century these movements developed into forms of religious nationalism.’
    • ‘Precisely in this period the social democratic movement developed into the most influential political party.’
    • ‘The lads responded and a motley crew matured and developed into a squad to be proud of.’
    • ‘Other places of its kind have gone the same road and after sale have been developed into thriving places of business.’
    • ‘Four years at college used to develop well-rounded individuals, mature athletes with knowledge of a world beyond their own disciplines.’
    • ‘The Bills hope he can rapidly develop into their starting quarterback and serve that role for many, many years.’
    • ‘There is no minimum age and there is also a novice class for all ages to keep the playing field level as skills develop.’
    • ‘The beautiful bougainvillea can be trained as a small shrub, or if left to grow, will develop into a massive hanging vine.’
    • ‘Alyssa was my daughter, and though she gave me quite a stir in her teen years, as she matured she developed into a fine young woman.’
    • ‘It was difficult for new black associations to mature and develop nationally or to elaborate specific programmes.’
    • ‘From a laughing teenager she developed into a mature gymnast whose work took on something of an academic quality.’
    • ‘Some of these became reform socialists, while others began movements which were to develop into parties.’
    • ‘Eventually as the tree matures, it will develop into a fine spreading type.’
    • ‘It started quite innocently - a small twinge developed into a spreading stiffness across my lower back.’
    • ‘As a new site feature, these blogs will grow and develop into living, breathing areas for the exchange of links, thoughts, and information.’
    grow, evolve, mature, expand, enlarge, spread, advance, progress, prosper, succeed, thrive, get on well, flourish, blossom, bloom, burgeon, make headway, be successful
    initiate, instigate, set in motion, put in place, institute, inaugurate, originate, invent, form, establish, fashion, generate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1often as adjective developingno object (of a poor agricultural country) become more economically and socially advanced.
      ‘the developing world’
      • ‘Certainly, China, India and some other emerging countries are developing fast.’
      • ‘I cannot help but wonder why even as the country developed economically, the peasants are not receiving any benefits?’
      • ‘But what better way was there to have the country develop, open up and gradually change?’
      • ‘Non-Muslims, so that our countries may develop we need to bring success to everybody.’
      • ‘Many people infected with HIV in developing countries develop TB as the first manifestation of AIDS.’
      • ‘Our country is developing well and will meet the criteria for the membership of the union by then.’
      • ‘Any effort to help poor countries develop should start by making them aware of the importance of trade and integration.’
      • ‘Bulgaria was developing well in economic terms and was meeting the requirements for joining the EU in 2007, Zalm said.’
      • ‘If this were to be accomplished this country would develop at a speedy rate.’
      • ‘Over time, however, it has been realized that sometimes as a nation develops, it requires more aid to work its way through the development process.’
      • ‘Rich countries should be taxed to help poorer nations develop, thus reducing the threat of war and terrorism.’
      • ‘There are so many Ghanians who would wish to see our country develop to the level that we see in other parts of the world.’
      • ‘Poor countries cannot develop, cannot increase their income when so much of their labor force is decimated.’
      • ‘A relative majority is convinced that a country develops better, not only when it protects equality of opportunity, but also when it strives for equality of outcome.’
      • ‘Similarly, the effort to realise his vision by 2020 would see the country develop into a great nation.’
      • ‘Seeing how the country has developed over time gives us a chance to make changes to improve the health of the world around us.’
      • ‘Firstly, reciprocal trade liberalisation will not help poor countries develop.’
      • ‘As these countries develop, an influx of global food retailers is likely to relegate peanuts to the role of a cash crop, to produce ground nut oil.’
      • ‘As poorer countries develop and stabilise, our security will improve and our own economy grow through increased trading opportunities.’
      • ‘The Balinese tourism industry would be destroyed and the island, now poor but developing, would be plunged into primitive semi-starvation.’
    2. 1.2with object Convert (land) to a new purpose by constructing buildings or making other use of its resources.
      • ‘We're into real estate, developing the land around the arena.’
      • ‘While they built the home in their minds, they continued to develop the land with their hands.’
      • ‘Now that the area has built up, the officials want to develop the land.’
      • ‘Talks are taking place about developing the land known locally as the Whatley's site as part of a village centre regeneration scheme.’
      • ‘It's all part of a master plan to develop this area of the Territory over the next decade or so.’
      • ‘Locally, he was involved in the Walton Green Inquiry, organising an appeal against a council decision to develop the land in the area.’
      • ‘Managers of the Hulton Estate say they have no plans to build houses on Lee Hall but could take steps to develop the land within the next five years.’
      • ‘It is developing marginal land, and is doing so very successfully.’
      • ‘South Ayrshire Council is not opposed to sporting clubs developing vacant land, even if a proposal is controversial or against planning policies.’
      • ‘Trees were not felled or cleared to develop agricultural land.’
      • ‘The public of Bradford need to know the true facts regarding plans to develop the land at West Bowling Golf Club.’
      • ‘The only basis on which it is possible for me to undertake the shopping centre is by developing the lands surrounding the premises as two small residential schemes.’
      • ‘Richmond council's plans to develop land in and around Crane Valley has been left in shreds by the government inspector.’
      • ‘At present, each individual parcel of land is developed in a different manner.’
      • ‘There are at least three groups of farmers who are developing the land.’
      • ‘Kellegher said he is aware of some farmers in the greater Dublin area who are looking to develop their own land.’
      • ‘He's also leery of reserve land being developed in such a way.’
      • ‘Much of the land was developed and legally occupied by residents who fought their removal by eminent domain.’
      • ‘The article details the efforts of a local artist who gathered 500 signatures of those opposed to developing the land.’
      • ‘West Wiltshire District Council is holding a further consultation period on proposals to develop an area of land south of Paxcroft Mead.’
    3. 1.3 Construct or convert (a building) so as to improve existing resources.
      • ‘Shui On will develop office and residential buildings in the Xintiandi area, one of the hottest restaurant and bar areas in Shanghai.’
      • ‘Kerzner International says it will spend about R6 billion on developing the casino along with two others in Manchester and Glasgow.’
      • ‘The consortium headed by Mr Smyth would be looking to develop hotel facilities adjoining the stadium.’
      • ‘Work is underway at this stage on improving and developing facilities at Ballyduff GAA grounds, Kildermody.’
      • ‘Such interest has seen many hotel chains develop their facilities.’
      • ‘The AA said the award reflects the hotel group's ‘outstanding commitment to improving and developing their hotels’.’
      • ‘The committee now hope to develop a sheltered housing facility following the conclusive findings of the report.’
      • ‘The police are looking for more help from corporates and institutions to develop the remaining station buildings in the city.’
      • ‘The council are wanting the football club to take a more incremental approach to developing the stadium, including keeping the running track and building temporary stands.’
      • ‘The money was used to develop hospitals, education enterprises and improve agriculture in Kitui.’
    4. 1.4with object Elaborate (a musical theme) by modification of the melody, harmony, or rhythm.
      • ‘It is not shaped and limited by words and it gives Menotti a chance to develop his musical themes instead of just moving from one to another.’
      • ‘Maid Of Gold and Things Told only reinforce the atmospheric canvas of this album, simply developing the melodies and soundscapes to reassess their compositions.’
      • ‘Dark harmonically and orchestrally, unfortunately it fails to develop a good musical idea into a more evolved work.’
      • ‘In cases when Cex tries to develop a melody, it remains somewhat buried in the mix underneath the bass heavy beats.’
      • ‘A lengthy Allegro moderato develops the themes rather well although one cannot claim that we are re-discovering a masterpiece.’
      • ‘The words may come later but he was developing a melody that seemed to haunt him with its need to be played.’
      • ‘In them, Griswold develops a theme, plays with it briefly, and then lets it fade before it is completely exhausted.’
      • ‘The band trades off leadership, but they spend less time developing themes and making statements than you might expect.’
      expand, enlarge, add to, flesh out, supplement, reinforce, augment, extend, broaden, fill out, embellish, enhance, elaborate, amplify, refine, improve, polish, perfect
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5Geometry with object Convert (a curved surface) conceptually into a plane figure as if by unrolling.
      • ‘Figure B shows the concept of developing an involute curve and its application in the design of involute gear tooth profile-measuring machines.’
      • ‘A curve can be developed by plotting changes in phase delay as the test frequency is varied.’
    6. 1.6Mathematics with object Expand (a function, etc.) in the form of a series.
      • ‘Students should be able to employ the orthogonality relation of Legendre polynomials to develop functions as series of such polynomials.’
      • ‘In the second part, we shall consider the problem of developing a function into a series.’
  • 2Start to exist, experience, or possess.

    no object ‘a strange closeness developed’
    with object ‘I developed an interest in law’
    with object ‘a head injury that caused him to develop a rare form of memory loss’
    • ‘The urge develops because past pleasurable experience and related benefits from the substance or activity are expected to reoccur on the next occasion.’
    • ‘However, some patients have developed leukemia following treatment with G-CSF.’
    • ‘But since we live in a world in which diseases do exist, we develop defenses against it.’
    • ‘After that he began to develop an interest in cosmetics.’
    • ‘For some patients, the experience of developing a chronic illness may mean they are unable to function in the role that their doctor expects.’
    • ‘It takes a long time to develop knowledge and experience.’
    • ‘They don't develop a knowledge of the victim's experience and therefore they don't develop victim empathy and a sense of remorse and guilt.’
    • ‘Results: 135 patients developed pressure ulcers during four weeks after admission.’
    • ‘After recent experiences, I have developed a phobia for knots, and I try to reduce the number as much as possible.’
    • ‘Only when there is a particular abnormality within that gene does the possibility of developing the disease exist.’
    • ‘Following mobilisation he developed new interests and allegiances in an army research unit.’
    • ‘About five years later, Emmy-Lou developed a cancerous growth in her mouth.’
    • ‘Out of that experience, Myles developed a love of nature which led him into bushwalking.’
    • ‘Shared Experience have developed a reputation for presenting great classics with fresh understanding and clarity.’
    • ‘Youth develop tobacco addiction and experience withdrawal symptoms similar to adults when they try to abstain from smoking.’
    • ‘Through this experience, I developed boldness and confidence for fighting with humans.’
    • ‘Sometimes we act on prejudices that we have developed from earlier experiences.’
    • ‘He's also developing valuable career experience as a global expert for his company.’
    • ‘Posttraumatic stress disorder develops in response to experiencing, witnessing or even learning about a terrifying event.’
    • ‘After much experience she had developed a gift for spotting fakes by just looking at them.’
    come into being, come about, start, begin, be born, come into existence, appear, arrive, come forth, emerge, erupt, burst out, arise, originate, break, unfold, crop up, follow, happen, result, ensue, break out
    fall ill with, be taken ill with, be struck down with, be stricken with, succumb to
    View synonyms
  • 3with object Treat (a photographic film) with chemicals to make a visible image.

    • ‘However, he knew that he would never completely give up his film camera; he had too much fun watching his images come in when he was developing his own film.’
    • ‘Ian Balloch of Grangemouth reported that he had found a camera, developed the film and discovered pictures of York Minster.’
    • ‘Ernest Wells taught his son how to develop films, including daylight prints that harnessed the rays of the sun.’
    • ‘Once an exposure is made the paper or film is developed to produce an image.’
    • ‘After exposure, the paper is developed, cleared, toned, fixed, washed and dried.’
    • ‘When the film is developed, these layers are exposed to chemicals that dye the layers of film.’
    • ‘The fingerprint is visualized by placing an X-ray plate over the filter and developing the film.’
    • ‘If I could have my own darkroom, I'd develop my own film and print my work myself.’
    • ‘After developing the film he then sifts through the stills and waits to see which ones stir memories of powerful emotions.’
    • ‘Nadia spent the rest of the day developing her film.’
    • ‘The latent images formed were developed chemically and fixed.’
    • ‘I was an inquisitive boy and soon discovered that I could save pocket money by developing my own films and making contact prints using an old-fashioned printing frame.’
    • ‘I would get asked to make sure it was torn up when I developed my film.’
    • ‘They have interviewed a woman from the audience of the BBC1 programme Question Time who claimed to have seen the images while developing a film at a photographic laboratory.’
    • ‘Though there was no instant replay at the time, there was replay - but it took 24 hours to develop the film.’
    • ‘The two men would develop the film in a room at the back of the Empire Theatre.’
    • ‘Within each of these layers there are dyes which are released when the film is developed.’
    • ‘Images of film that has been developed are captured by image sensing.’
    • ‘One of Gene's hobbies is buying old derelict cameras and developing any exposed film that comes with them.’
    • ‘For the first time, the cost of tape libraries and media for storing and retrieving check images has fallen below the film and developing cost of microfilm.’
  • 4Chess
    with object Bring (a piece) into play from its initial position on a player's back rank.

    • ‘He develops his pieces quickly and prepares to castle.’
    • ‘Who is going to move the Queen out first when not a single other piece is developed?’
    • ‘Black's pawns point towards the queenside, where he enjoys more space and has developed his pieces.’
    • ‘Black breaks the pin caused by White's dark-squared Bishop while developing a piece and preparing to castle.’
    • ‘This develops a piece, adds to White's control over d5, gets a step closer to castling, and also takes aim at the Black King.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘unfold, unfurl’): from French développer, based on Latin dis- ‘un-’ + a second element of unknown origin found also in envelop.