Definition of inflate in US English:



  • 1Fill (a balloon, tire, or other expandable structure) with air or gas so that it becomes distended.

    • ‘They're the kind of balloons which when inflated are shaped like round pillows.’
    • ‘Also, keep your tyres correctly inflated and get your wheel alignment checked.’
    • ‘Smaller balloons are then inflated around the main structure, and the process repeated to create mini-igloos for the guests and staff to sleep in.’
    • ‘I arrived at the field by 6.15 a.m. to behold the magnificent sight of the massive balloon half inflated.’
    • ‘Keeping your tyres inflated at the correct pressure is vital for your health and that of your wallet, as tyres run at the wrong pressure wear prematurely.’
    • ‘Our piece de resistance was a helium tank to inflate Labour Party balloons.’
    • ‘It was a feeling when your heart felt inflated like a balloon and your feet urged you to skip.’
    • ‘On his bicycle, fitted with a luggage box and a carrier, Gokul is taking with him, a kit bag and of course a vacuum pump to inflate the cycle tyres whenever necessary.’
    • ‘At first I was just vaguely uneasy, because I knew that an office (especially one this size) is not the right place for a hot air balloon to be inflated.’
    • ‘A few pebbles from my drive in a party balloon partially inflated with water served the purpose.’
    • ‘By analogy with the rock and the feather, think of a heavy warhead and a very light balloon that is inflated in the shape of a warhead; they would also travel along together in space.’
    • ‘The tube contains a balloon which is inflated, blocking the windpipe.’
    • ‘The balloon is inflated to expand the stent.’
    • ‘I am now ready to go - upon my opening my pack of balloons and inflating one, a knot is tied in the end to keep it inflated.’
    • ‘The object is an inflated balloon placed in the armpit.’
    • ‘We bounced up to 10 feet in the air, catching a glimpse of the mountain peaks and landing on a cushy inflated mattress to spring up in the air again.’
    • ‘If the balloon stays partially inflated, it can act as a sail and drag Fossett's closet-sized capsule for miles.’
    • ‘The balloons inflate the network, putting the string under tension while the string holds the balloons in place.’
    • ‘At launch, the balloon is partially inflated with helium and expands as it rises.’
    • ‘Once inside the shelter Snicht hurried around making space for them and inflating three portable mattresses he had.’
    blown up, aerated, filled, puffed up, puffed out, pumped up
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    1. 1.1no object Become distended by being filled with air or gas.
      • ‘‘You can think of a magma chamber as a balloon inflating and deflating,’ says Pritchard.’
      • ‘Twelve fully automatic programs for various types of shirts and materials take care of the rest: The shell made of balloon silk literally inflates itself with hot air and gets the shirts into shape.’
      • ‘The Dressman's shell, which is made from balloon silk, inflates as it fills with hot air and presses the garment into shape, smoothing out creases and wrinkles.’
      • ‘The bigger the balloon inflates, the bigger the explosion when it pops.’
      • ‘The flower buds are hollow balloons, which gradually inflate and color up.’
      • ‘Bowl followed bowl until his stomach inflated like a beach balloon and he staggered from the table on the verge of collapse.’
      • ‘Then the outside of the lava freezes to form a glassy, vesicle-free skin which inflates like a balloon until the surface is ruptured and a new pillow begins to form.’
      • ‘About 10 minutes later, small air pockets throughout the mattress begin inflating and deflating to produce a gentle rocking motion.’
      • ‘They inflate differently and behave differently, and once blown up, they can't be deflated for storage or re-used.’
      • ‘If we were to mark a number of equidistant points on the surface of the balloon, then as the balloon inflates the two-dimensional universe expands in the sense that every point on the balloon's surface recedes from every other.’
      • ‘There are also carnival games: squirting water into the clown's mouth where the balloon inflates.’
      • ‘When the balloon inflates, the spring-like stent expands and locks into place inside the artery.’
      • ‘A cryptic chorus of sound accompanies these series of visions while a swirling and undulating hot air balloon figure slowly inflates under the night sky.’
      • ‘Unfortunately the balloon refused to inflate properly and just dragged along on the surface of the sea.’
      • ‘As he strained upward, grunting, his entire body seemed to swell, like a balloon inflating.’
      • ‘Compressed air is blown into an opening and the two sheets inflate.’
      • ‘As the balloon inflates, though, the pressure needed to expand it further decreases dramatically.’
      blow up, fill with air, aerate, fill up, puff up, puff out, pump up
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  • 2Increase (something) by a large or excessive amount.

    ‘objectives should be clearly set out so as not to duplicate work and inflate costs’
    • ‘Consequently, this large size difference greatly inflates the variance in allele size in Europeans.’
    • ‘A buoyant stock market minimized post retirement pension costs by inflating the value of pension assets.’
    • ‘However, maps generated using molecular markers often have greatly inflated lengths compared with those predicted from chiasma counts.’
    • ‘Oh, and I believe corn syrup is less healthy as well, which further inflates health care costs.’
    • ‘Block billing can be a method of burying costs and inflating legal bills.’
    • ‘Property agencies say this year's festival will see yet another increase in the number of flats on the temporary market, and at increasingly inflated prices.’
    • ‘Authorities counted 314 people as still reported missing but said the number was greatly inflated by double reports and the enduring confusion over the identities of the dead.’
    • ‘She told the High Court in Leeds today that such a claim was ‘totally incredible’, and claimed that the costs application was inflated.’
    • ‘There was a ‘resistance to creating documents that would prove cost overruns or really inflated charges,’ she said.’
    • ‘I feel it is totally unacceptable to place this burden on the already overtaxed householders who are facing increasingly inflated council tax bills.’
    • ‘The terror of the 1972 games in Munich had inflated insurance and security costs, and the boycott by African nations had deprived the 1976 games of their global legitimacy.’
    • ‘Many never hear of the good we do, hearing only accounts, and sometimes greatly inflated rumors, of the evil acts perpetrated by others.’
    • ‘Comedy production costs are greatly inflated by the price of hype.’
    • ‘They are also concerned not to inflate building costs - which happened in the late 1990s - and to ensure they get value for money.’
    • ‘But what about those who need housing but cannot afford to buy at greatly inflated prices?’
    • ‘However, as with exit fees, a growing number of lenders are cottoning on to the fact that inflated charges can increase their profits.’
    • ‘The figures were greatly inflated, allowing welfare-bashing cronies to misuse the numbers and misrepresent welfare recipients.’
    • ‘Consequently the Labor vote in the first third of the period is greatly inflated, and this contributes to the trend.’
    • ‘The company says it could close to $800 million in legal costs and in court inflated payouts by administering compensation via such a scheme.’
    • ‘And the rising cost of energy is inflating the price of just about everything we purchase.’
    increase, raise, put up, boost, escalate, step up
    increased, raised, boosted
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    1. 2.1 Exaggerate.
      ‘numbers have been grossly inflated by the local press’
      • ‘The figures suggested by Trives are grossly inflated and completely unrealistic having regard to the exigent circumstances.’
      • ‘Smith said New Zealand fans have had an inflated opinion of their team's powers and that had created pressure on his players.’
      • ‘He has an inflated opinion of his value to the professional classes.’
      • ‘The numbers of complaints may also have been inflated by the hysterical, grossly distorted and inflammatory press coverage of the programme.’
      • ‘There is no doubt that the issue of fraud has been blown up to inflated proportions by media attention.’
      • ‘Some folks have said that this is not the only subject area where the EU has an inflated opinion.’
      • ‘The defeat of the nobles in 1488 probably gave Charles an inflated opinion of his own ability and may well have contributed to his belief that he could be a successful adventurer in northern Italy.’
      • ‘It now looks grossly inflated on the theatre stage.’
      • ‘The actual number of enemy dead was grossly inflated in order to make it appear that we were winning.’
      • ‘More to the point, who is kidding who when you have to purchase your ticket to finals now grossly inflated in scale via the humiliations of a play-off?’
      • ‘But the handicaps for Roberts and Helmar had been grossly inflated, by 14 and 15 strokes.’
      • ‘Churchill's essay goes to extremes, but like the man in power here, the way to get public opinion aroused is to make inflated statements that hold only a grain of truth.’
      • ‘But the inflated opinion Woodgate had apparently developed of himself in a rapid rise to fame and fortune seemed to be punctured by the court cases.’
      • ‘If he existed at all, and there is some dispute, was probably a local tribal leader whose importance was later inflated to promote religious pride.’
      • ‘Others steadfastly maintain that numbers such as those are grossly inflated, and that abduction of children by strangers with bad intent is actually quite rare.’
      • ‘It would have been better coming from a real victim and not a spoiled rich brat with an inflated opinion of herself as an Anointed Prophet.’
      • ‘This can lead to inflated estimates both of apparent local stratigraphic resolution and the degree of faunal endemism.’
      • ‘It's just too bad that the movie mixes its messages with mean spirited spitefulness, an inflated opinion of itself and its views, and a mostly unfunny script.’
      • ‘The assertion that these claims have been shown to be grossly inflated is a little premature in my opinion.’
      • ‘If the claim to ‘reform’ is grossly inflated, the opposing claim to defend ‘free speech’ is even more ludicrous.’
      exaggerate, magnify, pump up, overplay, overstate, dramatize, elaborate, enhance, embellish, touch up, blow up, blow up out of all proportion
      exaggerated, magnified, aggrandized, unwarranted, immoderate, pumped up, overblown, overripe, overstated, overplayed
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  • 3Bring about inflation of (a currency) or in (an economy).

    • ‘Rates of return above borrowing costs engendered heightened investment, which would tend to inflate the economy's general price level.’
    • ‘The government will ultimately face the stark reality of raising taxes, cutting spending or inflating the currency to decrease the impact of the debt load.’
    • ‘Hence, the central bank may find that despite its attempt to inflate the economy, the money supply will start falling.’
    • ‘For it has long been apparent that central bankers everywhere must like inflating the currency, during working hours at any rate.’
    • ‘If a country inflates the currency to pay off its debt, prices will rise so that the dollars or marks or pesos the creditor receives are worth a lot less than the dollars or pesos they originally lent out.’
    • ‘The assumptions also determine how the earnings of companies in which you invest are inflated or deflated.’
    • ‘This action would eliminate currency exchange risks and risks attached to purchasing goods from an economy with a hugely inflated currency.’
    • ‘At present, the State in nearly every country has achieved its major monetary goal: the ability to expand its revenue by inflating the currency at will.’
    • ‘In this way the currency could be inflated to pay for the war.’
    • ‘As expected, the U.S. government inflated the currency, as governments are prone to do.’
    • ‘Beginning with the War of Independence and continuing through the War on Terror, Americans have chosen to pay for their wars by borrowing money and inflating the currency.’
    • ‘When the government spends resources, it must drain them from the private economy through taxation and borrowing, or by inflating the money supply.’
    • ‘The markets composed of the citizens who will be taxed or whose currency will be inflated will suffer some combination of a direct drain on available dollars and a latent devaluation of dollars not withdrawn.’
    • ‘It is because of this, and despite the constant attempts by central banks to inflate the currency, that prices are continuing to fall for consumer goods.’
    • ‘No central bank on earth, not even the Federal Reserve System, can continually inflate its currency and defy market rates of interest without harming both its currency and the economy.’
    • ‘If there is one thing the Fed can do, they say, it is inflate the currency.’
    • ‘And while further rate cuts may do more to prod auto sales and housing demand, further inflating the already overheated housing market carries its own risks.’
    • ‘A bullion currency can be inflated, too - but only with great effort and expense - and not by very much.’
    • ‘The game comes complete with a single central bank, rules restricting lending competition, and the ability to inflate the currency.’
    • ‘Bankers found this arrangement uncomfortable, since it crimped their ability to make profits - which they did primarily by inflating the currency.’


Late Middle English: from Latin inflat- ‘blown into’, from the verb inflare, from in- ‘into’ + flare ‘to blow’.