Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To bring from latency to or toward fulfillment.
  • intransitive verb To expand or enlarge.
  • intransitive verb To aid in the growth of; strengthen.
  • intransitive verb To improve the quality of; refine.
  • intransitive verb To cause to become more complex or intricate; add detail and fullness to; elaborate.
  • intransitive verb Music To elaborate (a theme) with rhythmic and harmonic variations.
  • intransitive verb To bring into being gradually.
  • intransitive verb To set forth or clarify by degrees.
  • intransitive verb To come to have gradually; acquire.
  • intransitive verb To become affected with; contract.
  • intransitive verb To cause gradually to acquire a specific role, function, or form, as.
  • intransitive verb To influence the behavior of toward a specific end.
  • intransitive verb To cause (a tract of land or a building) to serve a particular purpose.
  • intransitive verb To make available and effective to fulfill a particular end or need.
  • intransitive verb To convert or transform.
  • intransitive verb Games To move (a chess piece) to or toward a more strategic position.
  • intransitive verb To process (a photosensitive medium such as exposed film) in order to produce a photographic image.
  • intransitive verb To produce (a photographic image) by use of a photosensitive medium or by printing from a digital file.
  • intransitive verb To grow by degrees into a more advanced or mature state.
  • intransitive verb To increase or expand.
  • intransitive verb To improve; advance.
  • intransitive verb To come gradually into existence or activity.
  • intransitive verb To come gradually to light; be disclosed.
  • intransitive verb To progress from earlier to later stages of a life cycle.
  • intransitive verb To progress from earlier to later stages of evolution.
  • intransitive verb To acquire secondary sex characteristics. Used especially of a girl.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To uncover or unfold gradually; lay open by successive steps; disclose or mate known in detail, as something not apparent or withheld from notice; bring or work out in full: as, the general began to develop the plan of his operations; to develop a plot; to develop an idea.
  • In photography, to induce the chemical changes in (the film of a plate which has been exposed in the camera or of a gelatino-bromide print) necessary to cause a latent image or picture to become visible, and, in the ease of a negative, to assume proper density to admit of reproduction by a process of printing.
  • In biology, to cause to go through the process of natural evolution from a previous and lower stage, or from un embryonic state to a later and more complex or perfect one.
  • In mathematics:
  • To advance from one stage to another by a process of natural or inherent evolution; specifically, in biology, to pass from the lowest stage through others of greater maturity toward the perfect or finished state: as, the fetus develops in the womb; the seed develops into the plant.
  • To become apparent; show itself: as, his schemes developed at length; specifically, in photography, to become visible, as a picture under the process of development. See development
  • In biology, to evolve; accomplish an evolutionary process or result.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To go through a process of natural evolution or growth, by successive changes from a less perfect to a more perfect or more highly organized state; to advance from a simpler form of existence to one more complex either in structure or function
  • intransitive verb To become apparent gradually
  • transitive verb To free from that which infolds or envelops; to unfold; to lay open by degrees or in detail; to make visible or known; to disclose; to produce or give forth
  • transitive verb To unfold gradually, as a flower from a bud; hence, to bring through a succession of states or stages, each of which is preparatory to the next; to form or expand by a process of growth; to cause to change gradually from an embryo, or a lower state, to a higher state or form of being
  • transitive verb To advance; to further; to prefect; to make to increase; to promote the growth of.
  • transitive verb (Math.) To change the form of, as of an algebraic expression, by executing certain indicated operations without changing the value.
  • transitive verb (Photog.) To cause to become visible, as an invisible or latent image upon plate, by submitting it to chemical agents; to bring to view.
  • transitive verb (Geom.) to produce on the plane an equivalent surface, as if by rolling the curved surface so that all parts shall successively touch the plane.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To change with a specific direction, progress.
  • verb intransitive To progress through a sequence of stages.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French développer, from Old French desveloper : des-, dis- + voloper, to wrap (possibly of Celtic origin).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French développer from Middle French desveloper, from Old French desveloper, from des- + voloper, veloper, vloper ("to wrap, wrap up") (compare Italian -viluppare, Old Italian alternate form goluppare ("to wrap")) from Vulgar Latin base *vlopp-, wlopp- "to wrap" ult. from Proto-Germanic *wrappan-, *wlappan- (“to wrap, roll up, turn, wind”), from Proto-Indo-European *werb- (“to turn, bend”) . Akin to Middle English wlappen ("to wrap, fold") (Modern English lap "to wrap, involve, fold"), Middle English wrappen ("to wrap"), Middle Dutch lappen ("to wrap up, embrace"), Danish dialectal vravle ("to wind, twist"), Middle Low German wrempen ("to wrinkle, scrunch, distort"), Old English wearp ("warp"). The word acquired its modern meaning from the 17th century belief that an egg contains the animal in miniature and matures by growing larger and shedding its envelopes.

Examples

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