• IPA: /meɪk/, [meɪkʲ]

make (makes, present participle making; past and past participle made)

  1. (transitive) To create.
    1. To build, construct, or produce.
      We made a bird feeder for our yard.
      I'll make a man out of him yet.
      He makes deodorants.
      • 1892, Walter Besant, “Prologue: Who is Edmund Gray?”, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
        Thus, when he drew up instructions in lawyer language, he expressed the important words by an initial, a medial, or a final consonant, and made scratches for all the words between; his clerks, however, understood him very well.
        I made a speaking trumpet of my hands and commenced to whoop “Ahoy!” and “Hello!” at the top of my lungs. […] The Colonel woke up, and, after asking what in brimstone was the matter, opened his mouth and roared “Hi!” and “Hello!” like the bull of Bashan.
        Yet in “Through a Latte, Darkly”, a new study of how Starbucks has largely avoided paying tax in Britain, Edward Kleinbard […] shows that current tax rules make it easy for all sorts of firms to generate what he calls “stateless income”: […]. In Starbucks’s case, the firm has in effect turned the process of making an expensive cup of coffee into intellectual property.
    2. To write or compose.
      I 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.
    • It makes for his advantage.
    • Bible, Epistle to the Romans 14:19:
      Follow after the things which make for peace.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Fourth, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene i]:
      Considerations infinite
      Do make against it.
  4. To constitute.
    They make a cute couple.
    This makes the third infraction.
    One swallow does not a summer make.
    • 2014, A teacher, "Choosing a primary school: a teacher's guide for parents ↗", The Guardian, 23 September:
      So if your prospective school is proudly displaying that "We Are Outstanding" banner on its perimeter fence, well, that is wonderful … but do bear in mind that in all likelihood it has been awarded for results in those two subjects, rather than for its delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum which brings out the best in every child. Which is, of course, what makes a great primary school.
    • 1995, Harriette Simpson Arnow: Critical Essays on Her Work, p.46:
      Style alone does not make a writer.
      We made an odd party before the arrival of the Ten, particularly when the Celebrity dropped in for lunch or dinner. He could not be induced to remain permanently at Mohair because Miss Trevor was at Asquith, but he appropriated a Hempstead cart from the Mohair stables and made the trip sometimes twice in a day.
  5. (transitive) To add up to, have a sum of.
    Two and four make six.
  6. (intransitive, construed with of, typically interrogative) To interpret.
    I don’t know what to make of it.
  7. (transitive, usually stressed) To bring into success.
    This company is what made you.
    She married into wealth and so has it made.
    • who makes or ruins with a smile or frown
  8. (ditransitive, second object is an adjective or participle) To cause to be.
    Synonyms: render
    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.
    • He is not that goose and ### that Valla would make him.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 731476803 ↗:
      So this was my future home, I thought! Certainly it made a brave picture. I had seen similar ones fired-in on many a Heidelberg stein. Backed by towering hills, […] a sky of palest Gobelin flecked with fat, fleecy little clouds, it in truth looked a dear little city; the city of one's dreams.
  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.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 16832619 ↗:
      In former days every tavern of repute kept such a room for its own select circle, a club, or society, of habitués, who met every evening, for a pipe and a cheerful glass. […] Strangers might enter the room, but they were made to feel that they were there on sufferance: they were received with distance and suspicion.
  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.
    • 1939, Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, Penguin 2011, p.33:
      I caught sight of him two or three times and then made him turning north into Laurel Canyon Drive.
    • 2004, George Nolfi et al., Ocean's Twelve, Warner Bros. Pictures, 0:50:30:
      Linus Caldwell: Well, she just made Danny and Yen, which means in the next 48 hours the three o' your pictures are gonna be in every police station in Europe.
    • 2007 May 4, Andrew Dettmann et al., "Under Pressure", episode 3-22 of Numb3rs, 00:01:16:
      David Sinclair: (walking) Almost at Seventh; I should have a visual any second now. (rounds a corner, almost collides into Kaleed Asan) Damn, that was close.
      Don Eppes: David, he make you?
      David Sinclair: No, I don't think so.
  15. (transitive, colloquial) To arrive at a destination, usually at or by a certain time.
    We should make Cincinnati by 7 tonight.
    • They that sail in the middle can make no land of either side.
  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.]
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot (novel), Chapter VIII:
      I made over twenty miles that day, for I was now hardened to fatigue and accustomed to long hikes, having spent considerable time hunting and exploring in the immediate vicinity of camp.
  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.
    • 1991, Bernard Guenée, Between Church and State: The Lives of Four French Prelates ISBN 0226310329:
      On November 15, 1396, […] Benedict XIII made him bishop of Noyon;
  20. (transitive, slang) To induct into the Mafia or a similar organization (as a made man).
    • 1990, Nicholas Pileggi & Martin Scorsese, Goodfellas:
      Jimmy Conway: They're gonna make him.
      Henry Hill: Paulie's gonna make you?
  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.
    • 1889 May 1, Chief Justice George P. Raney, Pensacola & A. R. Co. v. State of Florida (judicial opinion), reproduced in The Southern Reporter, Volume 5, West Publishing Company, p.843 ↗:
      Whether, […], the construction of additional roads […] would present a case in which the exaction of prohibitory or otherwise onerous rates may be prevented, though it result in an impossibility for some or all of the roads to make expenses, we need not say; no such case is before us.
    • 2005, Yuvi Shmul and Ron Peltier, Make It Big with Yuvi: How to Buy Or Start a Small Business, the Best Investment, AuthorHouse, ISBN 1-4259-0021-6, p.67 ↗:
      At first glance, you may be able to make rent and other overhead expenses because the business is doing well, but if sales drop can you still make rent?
    • 2011, Donald Todrin, Successfully Navigating the Downturn, Entrepreneur Press, ISBN 1-59918-419-2, p.194:
      So you can’t make payroll. This happens. […] many business owners who have never confronted it before will be forced to deal with this most difficult matter of not making payroll.
  24. (obsolete, intransitive) To compose verses; to write poetry; to versify.
    • ca.1360-1387, William Langland, Piers Plowman
      to solace him some time, as I do when I make
  25. To enact; to establish.
    • 1791, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution:
      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  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.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene iv]:
      a scurvy, jack-a-nape priest to meddle or make
  31. (obsolete) To increase; to augment; to accrue.
  32. (obsolete) To be engaged or concerned in.
    • Gomez, what makest thou here, with a whole brotherhood of city bailiffs?
  33. (now, archaic) To cause to be (in a specified place), used after a subjective what.
    • 1676, George Etherege, A Man of Mode:
      Footman. Madam! Mr. Dorimant!
      Lov. What makes him here?
    • 1816, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel:
      What makes her in the wood so late, / A furlong from the castle gate?
  34. (transitive, euphemism) To take the virginity of.
    • I was a young un at 'Oogli,
      Shy as a girl to begin;
      Aggie de Castrer she made me,
      — An' Aggie was clever as sin;
      Older than me, but my first un —
      More like a mother she were
      Showed me the way to promotion an' pay,
      An' I learned about women from 'er!
  35. (transitive) To have sexual intercourse with.
    • 1979, Mark Tuttle, Three's Company, "The Loan Shark"
      The only thing she wants to make is you!
Synonyms Conjugation