General English


  • verb to calculate the sum of various numbers added together a particular number of times
  • verb to grow or to increase


  • verb to work out a specified number of times the value of a number


Origin & History of “multiply”

Multiply is one of a large family of English words based on Latin multus ‘much’, a word of uncertain origin which may be related to Greek mála ‘very’ and Latin melior ‘better’. Multiply itself comes from the Latin derivative multiplicāre, formed with the element plic- ‘fold’ found also in complicated, explicit, etc, and therefore very closely parallel to the native English compound manifold. other members of the family include multiple (17th c.), from late Latin multiplus (the -plus is a relative of the -plic- in multiplicāre); multitude (14th c.), from Latin multitūdō ‘crowd’, formed with the abstract noun suffix -tūdō; and of course the host of words formed since the 16th century with the prefix multi-, including multifarious (17th c.) (based on Latin -fārius ‘doing’), multilateral (17th c.), multinational (20th c.), multiracial (20th c.), and multistorey (20th c.).