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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/


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).
    • Ames
      Impunity will multiply motives to disobedience.
  2. (transitive, arithmetic) 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, 2002 Dover edition, ISBN 0486421651, page 154 [1]:
      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, ISBN 0070176744, page 14 [2]:
      Of all the possible combinations of factors above, only (2\cdot4)+(3\cdot5)=23. Carefully arranging the factors, therefore, to ensure that 2 multiplies 4 and 3 multiplies 5, we have
Related terms[edit]


multiply ‎(plural multiplies)

  1. (computer science) An act or instance of multiplying.

Etymology 2[edit]

multiple +‎ -ly.



multiply ‎(comparative more multiply, superlative most multiply)

  1. In many or multiple ways.