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From Middle English enlargen, from Old French enlargier, enlargir.



enlarge (third-person singular simple present enlarges, present participle enlarging, simple past and past participle enlarged)

(Can we add an example for this sense?)

  1. (transitive) To make (something) larger.
  2. (intransitive) To grow larger.
  3. (transitive) To increase the capacity of; to expand; to give free scope or greater scope to; also, to dilate, as with joy, affection, etc.
    Knowledge enlarges the mind.
  4. (intransitive) To speak or write at length upon or on (some subject); expand; elaborate
    • 1664, Samuel Butler, Hudibras 2.2.68:
      I shall enlarge upon the Point.
    • 1926, T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, New York: Anchor (1991), p. 167:
      He began to enlarge on the nature of the ground.
  5. (archaic) To release; to set at large.
    • a. 1587, Philippe Sidnei [i.e., Philip Sidney], “(please specify the page number)”, in Fulke Greville, Matthew Gwinne, and John Florio, editors, The Covntesse of Pembrokes Arcadia [The New Arcadia], London: [] [John Windet] for William Ponsonbie, published 1590, OCLC 801077108; republished in Albert Feuillerat, editor, The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia (Cambridge English Classics: The Complete Works of Sir Philip Sidney; I), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: University Press, 1912, OCLC 318419127:
      Like a Lionesse lately enlarged.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938, book IV, canto 8:
      Finding no meanes how I might us enlarge, / But if that Dwarfe I could with me convay, / I lightly snatcht him up and with me bore away.
    • a. 1677, Isaac Barrow, Of Contentment (sermon):
      It will enlarge us from all restraints.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ii]:
      Uncle of Exeter, enlarge the man committed yesterday, that rail'd against our person. We consider it was excess of wine that set him on.
    • 1926, T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, New York: Anchor (1991), p. 167:
      In hospital he gave his parole, and was enlarged after paying for the torn blanket.
    • 1953, Samuel Beckett, Watt
      In the morning, said Mr. Case, as soon as Mr. Gorman, or Mr. Nolan arrives, you will be let out, and free to come and go, as you please. Watt replied that that would indeed be something to look forward to, and a comfort to him during the night, the prospect of being enlarged, in the morning, by Mr. Gorman, or Mr. Nolan, and made free to come and go, as he listed.
  6. (nautical) To get more astern or parallel with the vessel's course; to draw aft; said of the wind.
  7. (law) To extend the time allowed for compliance with (an order or rule).
    • 1795, Charles Runnington, The History, Principles and Practice [] :
      the court would not take farther time to adjourn and deliberate, where the term was near spent, unless the parties would consent to enlarge it


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