verb (used with object)

  1. to increase in extent, size, volume, scope, etc.: Heat expands most metals. He hopes to expand his company.
  2. to spread or stretch out; unfold: A bird expands its wings.
  3. to express in fuller form or greater detail; develop: to expand a short story into a novel.
  4. Mathematics.
    1. to write (a mathematical expression) so as to show the products of its factors.Compare factor(def 10).
    2. to rewrite (a mathematical expression) as a sum, product, etc., of terms of a particular kind: to expand a function in a power series.

verb (used without object)

  1. to increase or grow in extent, bulk, scope, etc.: Most metals expand with heat. The mind expands with experience.
  2. to spread out; unfold; develop: The buds had not yet expanded.
  3. to express something more fully or in greater detail (usually followed by on or upon): to expand on a statement.


  1. to make or become greater in extent, volume, size, or scope; increase
  2. to spread out or be spread out; unfold; stretch out
  3. (intr often foll by on) to enlarge or expatiate on (a story, topic, etc) in detail
  4. (intr) to become increasingly relaxed, friendly, or talkative
  5. maths to express (a function or expression) as the sum or product of terms

vearly 15c., “spread out, spread flat,” from Anglo-French espaundre, Middle French espandre and directly from Latin expandere “to spread out, unfold, expand,” from ex- “out” (see ex-) + pandere “to spread, stretch” (see pace (n.)). Sense of “grow larger” first recorded 1640s. Related: Expanded; expanding.

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