develop (v.)

1650s, "unroll, unfold" (a sense now obsolete), from French développer. It replaced earlier English disvelop (1590s, from French desveloper); both French words are from Old French desveloper, desvoleper, desvoloper "unwrap, unfurl, unveil; reveal the meaning of, explain," from des- "undo" (see dis-) + voloper "wrap up," which is of uncertain origin, possibly Celtic or Germanic.

The modern uses are figurative and emerged in English 18c. and after: Transitive meaning "unfold more fully, bring out the potential in" is by 1750; intransitive sense of "come gradually into existence or operation" is by 1793; that of "advance from one stage to another toward a finished state" is by 1843. The intransitive meaning "become known, come to light" is by 1864, American English.

The photographic sense "induce the chemical changes necessary to cause a latent picture or image to become visible" is from 1845; the real estate sense of "convert land to practical or profitable use" is by 1865. Related: Developed; developing.Developing as an adjective in reference to poor or primitive countries or nations that are advancing in economic, industrial, and social conditions is by 1960.

Origin and meaning of develop

updated on October 13, 2021

Definitions of develop from WordNet

develop (v.)
make something new, such as a product or a mental or artistic creation;
Her company developed a new kind of building material that withstands all kinds of weather
They developed a new technique
develop (v.)
work out;
We have developed a new theory of evolution
Synonyms: evolve / germinate
develop (v.)
gain through experience;
Dave developed leadership qualities in his new position
Children must develop a sense of right and wrong
develop a passion for painting
Synonyms: acquire / evolve
develop (v.)
come to have or undergo a change of (physical features and attributes);
The patient developed abdominal pains
Well-developed breasts
Synonyms: grow / produce / get / acquire
develop (v.)
come into existence; take on form or shape;
Synonyms: originate / arise / rise / uprise / spring up / grow
develop (v.)
change the use of and make available or usable;
develop land
The country developed its natural resources
Synonyms: build up
develop (v.)
elaborate, as of theories and hypotheses;
Could you develop the ideas in your thesis
Synonyms: explicate / formulate
develop (v.)
create by training and teaching;
we develop the leaders for the future
Synonyms: train / prepare / educate
develop (v.)
be gradually disclosed or unfolded; become manifest;
The plot developed slowly
develop (v.)
grow, progress, unfold, or evolve through a process of evolution, natural growth, differentiation, or a conducive environment;
This situation has developed over a long time
A flower developed on the branch
The country developed into a mighty superpower
The embryo develops into a fetus
develop (v.)
become technologically advanced;
Many countries in Asia are now developing at a very fast pace
Synonyms: modernize / modernise
develop (v.)
cause to grow and differentiate in ways conforming to its natural development;
The perfect climate here develops the grain
He developed a new kind of apple
Synonyms: make grow
develop (v.)
generate gradually;
We must develop more potential customers
develop a market for the new mobile phone
develop (v.)
grow emotionally or mature;
The child developed beautifully in her new kindergarten
Synonyms: grow
develop (v.)
make visible by means of chemical solutions;
Please develop this roll of film for me
develop (v.)
superimpose a three-dimensional surface on a plane without stretching, in geometry;
develop (v.)
move one's pieces into strategically more advantageous positions;
Spassky developed quickly
develop (v.)
move into a strategically more advantageous position;
develop the rook
develop (v.)
elaborate by the unfolding of a musical idea and by the working out of the rhythmic and harmonic changes in the theme;
develop the melody and change the key
develop (v.)
Report the news as it develops
Synonyms: break / recrudesce
develop (v.)
expand in the form of a series;
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.