Alternative formsEdit


From Middle French magnifier, from Latin magnificāre, from magnificus.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈmaɡnɪfaɪ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈmæɡnɪfaɪ/
  • (file)


magnify (third-person singular simple present magnifies, present participle magnifying, simple past and past participle magnified)

  1. (transitive) To praise, glorify (someone or something, especially God). [from 14th c.]
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Acts X:
      For they herde them speake with tonges, and magnify God.
    • 1644, John Milton, Areopagitica:
      For he who freely magnifies what hath been nobly done, and fears not to declare as freely what might be done better, gives ye the best cov'nant of his fidelity [...].
  2. (transitive) To make (something) larger or more important. [from 14th c.]
    • 2006, Edwin Black, chapter 2, in Internal Combustion[1]:
      But through the oligopoly, charcoal fuel proliferated throughout London's trades and industries. By the 1200s, brewers and bakers, tilemakers, glassblowers, pottery producers, and a range of other craftsmen all became hour-to-hour consumers of charcoal. This only magnified the indispensable nature of the oligopolists.
  3. (transitive) To make (someone or something) appear greater or more important than it is; to intensify, exaggerate. [from 17th c.]
  4. (transitive) To make (something) appear larger by means of a lens, magnifying glass, telescope etc. [from 17th c.]
    • 2013 July-August, Catherine Clabby, “Focus on Everything”, in American Scientist:
      Not long ago, it was difficult to produce photographs of tiny creatures with every part in focus. That’s because the lenses that are excellent at magnifying tiny subjects produce a narrow depth of field. A photo processing technique called focus stacking has changed that.
  5. (intransitive, slang, obsolete) To have effect; to be of importance or significance.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spectator to this entry?)

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit