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grow - definition and synonyms

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verb     grow pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlegrowing
past tensegrew
past participlegrown
  1. 1
    [intransitive] if children or animals grow, they become taller or larger

    ‘Hasn’t Michael grown?’ said my aunt.

    grow several inches/a lot/very tall etc:

    She must have grown at least four inches since I saw her last.

    grow to a size/height/length:

    In the right conditions, shellfish can grow to considerable sizes.

    Some of these creatures grew to a length of over 12 feet.

    fully grown (=having grown to full size):

    a fully grown lion

    Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    [intransitive] if plants or trees grow, they develop and get larger or taller

    plants that grow naturally in peat bogs

    The redwood tree can grow over 80 metres tall.

    grow to maturity:

    We left some of the better trees and let them grow to maturity.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] if trees or plants grow somewhere, they exist there

      The trees grew almost to the water’s edge.

    2. b.
      [transitive] if you grow plants, you look after them and help them to develop

      the country’s largest rice-growing area

      They grew all their own vegetables.

      Various crops are grown here.

      grow something from something:

      I’ve grown these geraniums from seed.

      Synonyms and related words
    3. c.
      [intransitive/transitive] if bacteria or cells grow, or if they are grown, they divide and increase in number
    4. d.
      [intransitive/transitive] if crystals grow, or if they are grown, they get bigger in size
  3. 3
    [intransitive] if your hair or nails grow, they become longer
    1. a.
      [transitive] if you grow your hair or nails, you let them become longer
  4. 4
    [intransitive] to increase in size

    The problem continues to grow.

    By 1997, the town had grown big enough to need a school of its own.

    grow to:

    a ripple of laughter that grew to a delighted roar

    grow longer:

    The waiting list for housing is growing longer every year.

    grow in size/number/amount:

    The database will grow in size as necessary.

    grow at a fast/record etc rate:

    By now the road network was growing at an alarming rate.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] if a business or the economy grows, more money is used in it and it becomes more successful

    In the early part of the century, the industry grew steadily.

    grow by 10%/20% etc:

    The economy has grown by 7% over the past year.

  6. 6
    [intransitive] if feelings or qualities grow, they become stronger

    She could feel the anger growing inside her.

    Fears were growing for his safety.

  7. 7
    [intransitive] if you grow, the emotional or spiritual part of your character becomes stronger

    People need to be able to grow and develop in relationships.

  8. 8
    [linking verb] literary used for saying that someone or something gradually starts to have a feeling or quality

    Nina was growing bored.

    grow used to/accustomed to:

    Branson had grown accustomed to the old man’s eccentricities.

    Synonyms and related words
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the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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