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From Middle English maken, from Old English macian (to make, build, work), from Proto-West Germanic *makōn (to make, build, work), from Proto-Indo-European *mag- (to knead, mix, make). Cognate with Latin mācerōmacerAncient Greek μάσσω (mássō)Scots mak (to make)Saterland Frisian moakje (to make)West Frisian meitsje (to make)Dutch maken (to make)Dutch Low Saxon maken (to make) and German Low German maken (to make) and German machen (to make, do).

Alternative forms

  • mak (Wearside, Durham, dialectal).
  • makee (pronunciation spelling).
  • myek (Tyneside, dialectal).


  • IPA(key)/meɪk/[meɪkʲ]


make (third-person singular simple present makespresent participle makingsimple past and past participle made or (dialectal or obsolete) marked).

  1. (transitive) To create.
    1. To build, construct, produce, or originate.
      We made a bird feeder for our yard.
      I’ll make a man out of him yet.
      He makes deodorants.
    2. To write or compose.
      made a poem for her wedding.
      He made a will.
    3. To bring about; to effect or produce by means of some action.
      make war
      They were just a bunch of ne’er-do-wells who went around making trouble for honest men.
    4. (religious) To create (the universe), especially (in Christianity) from nothing.
      God made earth and heaven.
  2. (intransitive, now mostly colloquial) To behave, to act.
    To make like a deer caught in the headlights.
    They made nice together, as if their fight never happened.
    He made as if to punch him, but they both laughed and shook hands.
  3. (intransitive) To tend; to contribute; to have effect; with for or against.
  4. To constitute.
    They make a cute couple.
    This makes the third infraction.
    One swallow does not a summer make.
  5. (transitive) To add up to, have a sum of.
    Two and four make six.
  6. (transitive, construed with of, typically interrogative) To interpret.
    I don’t know what to make of it.
    They couldn’t make anything of the inscription.
  7. (transitive, usually stressed) To bring into success.
    This company is what made you.
    She married into wealth and so has it made.
  8. (ditransitive, second object is an adjective or participle) To cause to be.
    The citizens made their objections clear.
    This might make you a bit woozy.
    Did I make myself heard?
    Scotch will make you a man.
  9. To cause to appear to be; to represent as.
  10. (ditransitive, second object is a verb) To cause (to do something); to compel (to do something).
    You’re making her cry.
    I was made to feel like a criminal.
  11. (ditransitive, second object is a verb, can be stressed for emphasis or clarity) To force to do.
    The teacher made the student study.
    Don’t let them make you suffer.
  12. (ditransitive, of a fact) To indicate or suggest to be.
    His past mistakes don’t make him a bad person.
  13. (transitive, of a bed) To cover neatly with bedclothes.
  14. (transitive, US slang, crime, law enforcement) To recognise, identify, spot.
  15. (transitive, colloquial) To arrive at a destination, usually at or by a certain time.
    We should make Cincinnati by 7 tonight.
  16. (intransitive, colloquial) To proceed (in a direction).
    They made westward over the snowy mountains.
    Make for the hills! It’s a wildfire!
    They made away from the fire toward the river.
  17. (transitive) To cover (a given distance) by travelling. [from 16thc.]
  18. (transitive) To move at (a speed). [from 17thc.]
    The ship could make 20 knots an hour in calm seas.
    This baby can make 220 miles an hour.
  19. To appoint; to name.
  20. (transitive, slang) To induct into the Mafia or a similar organization (as a made man).
  21. (intransitive, colloquial, euphemistic) To defecate or urinate.
  22. (transitive) To earn, to gain (money, points, membership or status).
    They hope to make a bigger profit.
    He didn’t make the choir after his voice changed.
    She made ten points in that game.
  23. (transitive) To pay, to cover (an expense); chiefly used after expressions of inability.
  24. (obsolete, intransitive) To compose verses; to write poetry; to versify.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chaucer to this entry?)
  25. To enact; to establish.
  26. To develop into; to prove to be.
    She’ll make a fine president.
  27. To form or formulate in the mind.
    make plans
    made a questionable decision
  28. To perform a feat.
    make a leap
    make a pass
    make a u-turn
  29. (intransitive) To gain sufficient audience to warrant its existence.
    In the end, my class didn’t make, which left me with a bit of free time.
  30. (obsolete) To act in a certain manner; to have to do; to manage; to interfere; to be active; often in the phrase to meddle or make.
  31. (obsolete) To increase; to augment; to accrue.
  32. (obsolete) To be engaged or concerned in.
  33. (now archaic) To cause to be (in a specified place), used after a subjective what.
  34. (transitive, euphemistic) To take the virginity of.
  35. (transitive) To have sexual intercourse with.
  36. (intransitive) Of water, to flow toward land; to rise.
  • In older forms of English, when the pronoun thou was in active use, and verbs used -est for distinct second-person singular indicative forms, the verb make had the form makest, and had madest for its past tense.
  • Similarly, when the ending -eth was in active use for third-person singular present indicative forms, the form maketh was used.


make (plural makes)

  1. Brand or kind; model.
     What make of car do you drive?
  2. Manner or style of construction (style of how a thing is made); form.
  3. Origin (of a manufactured article); manufacture; production.
     The camera was of German make.
  4. A person’s character or disposition.
  5. (dated) The act or process of making something, especially in industrial manufacturing.
  6. (uncountable) Quantity produced, especially of materials.
  7. (computing) A software utility for automatically building large applications or an implementation of this utility.
  8. (slang) Identification or recognition (of identity), especially from police records or evidence.
  9. (slang, usually in phrase “easy make”) Past, present or future target of seduction (usually female).
  10. (slang, military) A promotion.
  11. A homemade project.
  12. (card games) Turn to declare the trump for a hand (in bridge), or to shuffle the cards.
  13. (basketball) A made basket.
  14. (physics) The closing of an electrical circuit.
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