From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: multi-ply


Etymology 1[edit]

From Old French multiplier, from Latin multiplicō, from multi (many) + plicō (I fold).

The noun presumably derives from the verb.


  • enPR: mŭlʹtĭ-plī, IPA(key): /ˈmʌltɪplaɪ/
  • (file)


multiply (third-person singular simple present multiplies, present participle multiplying, simple past and past participle multiplied)

  1. (transitive) To increase the amount, degree or number of (something).
    • 1786, Fisher Ames, Lucius Junius Brutus:
      The motives to refuse obedience to government are many and strong ; impunity will multiply and enforce them
    • 1843, Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London:
      It would indeed be easy to multiply modern authorities respecting locustal food; one more authority shall suffice, from which it will appear that the Arabs make a sort of locust bread.
  2. (transitive, arithmetic, with by) To perform multiplication on (a number).
    when you multiply 3 by 7, you get 21;  he multiplied several numbers
  3. (intransitive) To grow in number.
  4. (intransitive) To breed or propagate.
    • 2013 July 20, “Welcome to the plastisphere”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      [The researchers] noticed many of their pieces of [plastic marine] debris sported surface pits around two microns across. [] Closer examination showed that some of these pits did, indeed, contain bacteria, and that in several cases these bacteria were dividing and thus, by the perverse arithmetic of biological terminology, multiplying.
  5. (intransitive, arithmetic) To perform multiplication.
    He had been multiplying, but it occurred to him he needed to resolve the exponents, first.
  6. (transitive, rare) To be a factor in a multiplication with (another factor).
    • 1983, Graham Flegg, Numbers[1], Dover, published 2002, →ISBN, page 154:
      This follows a similar process, counters having to be removed and replaced at each stage of the remaining part of the calculation except the final one, where 2 multiplies 3 to give 6.
    • 1993, Edward T. Dowling, Schaum's Outline of Theory and Problems of Mathematical Methods for Business and Economics[2], →ISBN, page 14:
      Of all the possible combinations of factors above, only . Carefully arranging the factors, therefore, to ensure that 2 multiplies 4 and 3 multiplies 5, we have
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


multiply (plural multiplies)

  1. (computer science) An act or instance of multiplying.
    • 1975, Byte, numbers 1-8, page 14:
      The extended instruction set may double the speed again if a lot of multiplies and divides are done.
    • 2004, C. K. Birdsall, A. B. Langdon, Plasma Physics via Computer Simulation, page 75:
      List the number of adds and multiplies for each of the forms (6) , (7), and (8).

Etymology 2[edit]

multiple +‎ -ly.


  • enPR: mŭlʹtĭ-plē, IPA(key): /ˈmʌltɪpli/
  • (file)


multiply (not comparable)

  1. In many or multiple ways.