Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

develop - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb develop pronunciation in American English /dɪˈveləp/
Word Forms
present tense
present participledeveloping
past tensedeveloped
past participledeveloped
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [intransitive] if people, animals, or plants develop, they change or grow as they get older

    All children develop at different rates.

    develop into:

    The cell then develops into an embryo.

    develop from:

    Fine white roots develop from the nodes on the stems.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to grow something

      The tree will gradually develop tough bark.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to become bigger or more successful as a company, business, or industry

    Markets for such high-priced products develop slowly.

  3. 3
    [intransitive] to gradually become clear or complete as details are added

    The plot develops further in the second episode.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to gradually add details to an idea, plan, story, etc. to make it more clear or complete

      I’d like to fully develop my idea before discussing it.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] to change as events or conditions change, especially to become more serious

    We’re waiting to see how things develop before we evacuate anyone.

  5. 5
    [transitive] to begin to be affected by a disease or medical condition

    She died two years after first developing the illness.

    1. b.
      [transitive] to begin to have something such as a feeling, habit, interest, or relationship

      She developed a taste for champagne while she was in France.

    2. c.
      [intransitive] to start to exist, or to start to be noticeable
    3. d.
      [transitive] to begin to have a problem or difficulty

      One of the engines developed a problem soon after takeoff.

  6. 8
    [transitive] to use land for a particular purpose or in a way that increases its value

    A company applied for a zoning change to develop the land for housing.


sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play