Meaning of “make” in the English Dictionary

"make" in English

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uk /meɪk/ us /meɪk/ made, made

make verb (PRODUCE)

A1 [ T ] to produce something, often using a particular substance or material:

Do you want me to make some coffee?
He made a chocolate cake.
She makes all her own clothes.
[ + two objects ] He made us some coffee./He made some coffee for us.
The pot is made to withstand high temperatures.
He works for a company that makes furniture.
The label on the box said "made in China".
Butter is made out of/from milk.
earrings made of gold
Her new trainer has promised to make an Olympic athlete of her.

A1 [ T ] To make a film or television programme is to direct, produce it, or act in it:

John Huston made some great movies.
The movie was made by Goldcrest Productions.
So why didn't Garbo make any films after 1941?

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make verb (CAUSE)

B1 [ T ] to cause something:

The kids made a real mess in the kitchen.
The bullet made a hole right through his chest.
What made you change your mind?
Just seeing Woody Allen's face is enough to make me laugh.
The photograph makes me look about 80!

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make verb (CAUSE TO BE)

[ T ] to cause to be, to become, or to appear as:

[ + noun ] It's the good weather that makes Spain such a popular tourist destination.
[ + past participle ] She had to shout to make herself heard above the sound of the music.
I can make myself understood in French, but I'm not fluent.
They went up to the Ambassador and made themselves known (to her).
[ + adj ] The company accounts have not yet been made public.
The book's advertised as "navigation made easy".
The president has made Henry Paulson his Secretary of the Treasury.
I'll have a steak - no, make that chicken.
make certain/sure

A2 to take action so that you are certain that something happens, is true, etc.:

I'll just make sure I've turned the oven off.
Make certain (that) we have enough food for the party.
Make sure you're home by midnight.
Jones made sure of his place on the team with three great goals.
I think I locked the door but I'll go back and check just to make sure.

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make verb (PERFORM)

A2 [ T ] to perform an action:

I have to make a phone call.
Somebody has made a donation of £1 million to the charity Oxfam.
I need to make a doctor's appointment.
On foot they could only make about 20 miles a day.
We must make a decision by tomorrow.
You're not making any effort.
Someone has made a mistake/an error.
We're making good progress.
She has made a request for a new car.
We made an offer of £450,000 for the house.
She made a short speech.
Is it time to make a start on the work?
Can I make a suggestion?
We made good time getting across town.
There's a drunk at the door making trouble.
make room/space/way

C2 If you make room/space/way for something or someone, you move your body or move other things, so that there is space for it, him, or her.

make a bed

to pull up and tidy the covers on a bed after it has been slept in:

She hurried upstairs and quickly made the beds.

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make verb (FORCE)

make sb do sth

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B1 to force someone or something to do something:

You can't make him go if he doesn't want to.
The vet put something down the dog's throat to make it vomit.
be made to do sth

to be forced to do something:

The prisoners are made to dig holes and fill them up again.

make verb (TOTAL)

[ L only + noun, T ] to produce a total when added together:

12 and 12 make 24.
Today's earthquake makes five since the beginning of the year.
[ + obj + noun ] I have 29 different teapots in my collection - if I buy this one that'll make it 30.

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make verb (CALCULATE)

UK [ T + obj + noun ] to calculate as:

How much do you make the total?
I make the answer (to be) 105.6.
What do you make the time?/What time do you make it?

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  • I make it 2,300.
  • I made it three o'clock exactly when they set off.
  • What do you make his temperature?
  • I make it just gone two o'clock.
  • I make the total £5.69.

make verb (EARN/GET)

B2 [ T ] to earn or get:

She makes $100,000 a year as a doctor.
How do you make a living as a painter?
The company has made huge profits/losses.
He's very good at making new friends.

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make verb (ARRIVE)

B1 [ T ] informal to arrive at or reach, especially successfully:

She made it to the airport just in time to catch her plane.
He made it to the bed and then collapsed.
Could you make a meeting at 8 a.m.?/Could you make an 8 a.m. meeting?

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makenoun [ C ]

uk /meɪk/ us /meɪk/

(Definition of “make” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"make" in American English

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us /meɪk/ past tense and past participle made /meɪd/

make verb (PRODUCE)

[ T ] to bring something into existence, esp. using a particular substance or material; produce:

Does that company make computers?
Butter is made from cream.
My wedding ring is made of gold.
He made us some coffee.

make verb (CAUSE)

[ T ] to cause something:

The kids made a mess in the kitchen.
Don’t make any noise.

make verb (CAUSE TO BE)

[ T ] to cause something to be, become, or appear in a particular way:

If you open some windows, you’ll make it cooler.
He said something that made her angry.
We can sit closer together and make room (= provide space) for one more.
We’re making our attic into a spare bedroom.

make verb (PERFORM)

[ T ] to perform an action:

I’ve got to make a (phone) call to Ricardo.
We must make a decision by tomorrow.
Someone has made a mistake.
Latisha is making progress in her reading.
Can I make a suggestion?
We might as well make use of the car, since we’ve got it for the whole weekend.
make the bed

To make the bed is to put sheets and covers on a bed so that someone can sleep in it, or to straighten them after it has been slept in.

make verb (FORCE)

[ T ] to force someone or something to do something:

Ambition will make you get up off your sofa and go out and work for what you want.

make verb (BE OR BECOME)

[ L ] to be or become something, esp. by having the necessary characteristics:

I don’t think he will ever make a good lawyer.
Hector and Wanda make a delightful couple.
He worked really hard, but he didn’t make the team (= was not chosen to be a member of it).

make verb (TOTAL)

[ L ] to add up to (a total):

6 and 6 make 12.

make verb (EARN)

[ T ] to earn or get:

She makes $70,000 a year.
Can you make a living as a painter?

make verb (ARRIVE)

[ T ] infml to arrive at or reach:

We should make Whitefish Bay by nightfall.
He made it to the bed and then collapsed.
noun [ C ] us /ˈmeɪ·kər/

The makers of music videos show a fantasy world.

makenoun [ C ]

us /meɪk/

make noun [ C ] (PRODUCT)

a particular product, or the name of the company that made it:

What make of air conditioner do you recommend?

(Definition of “make” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"make" in Business English

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makeverb [ T ]

uk /meɪk/ us made, made

to produce or prepare goods, etc.:

The firm is only a small player in the industry, making around 1,000 vehicles a year.
We make software that allows mobile employees to connect securely to their corporate networks.
made of sth The bottles are made of opaque glass so that the contents cannot be seen.
made from sth All our coffee is made from beans sourced locally.

to earn or receive money:

make money Investors are hoping that one day "green" companies will make serious money.
make $30,000/£500/€75m, etc. The state of Alaska makes around $50 million a year on tobacco taxes.
She makes around £100,000 a year as a dentist.
make sth on sth They made $500,000 in total on the deal.
make a living In this area it's hard to make a living as a gardener.

to do a particular thing:

make a decision/mistake/improvement No major decisions are made without the CEO's approval.
make a deal/purchase/offer The deal includes a $25 million break-up fee, which could encourage other bidders to make a competing offer.

to say something officially or formally:

make a recommendation/statement/judgment The audit makes a series of recommendations.
make an announcement/a comment/a speech Both parties plan to make an announcement before Christmas.

to choose someone as something, or employ someone as something:

He was made Principal Analyst within a year of joining the company.

to cause someone or something to be in a particular state:

In August this year, she was made redundant from her job at the bank after 15 years' service.
make sth available/accessible/user-friendly One of the project's key goals is to make the website available in different languages.
make a market (in sth)

to be ready, willing, and able to buy or sell particular bonds, shares, etc. as a dealer:

Western investment banks are being allowed to make a market in Chinese domestic shares.
make a payment/loan/investment, etc.

to pay, lend, invest, etc. money:

Shareholders may authorize a third party, such as a bank or employer, to make investments directly to their Fund accounts.
make a profit/loss

to earn or lose more money than you spend:

The business made a pre-tax profit of £14.9m last year.
make a go of sth informal

to make something successful:

They spent nearly all their savings trying to make a go of the business.
It has become increasingly difficult for independent operators to make a go of it.
make good also make it (big) informal

to become rich and successful:

After years of hard work, she finally made good.
Los Angeles is full of people who go there to "make it big" like the stars in Hollywood.
make good a deficit, shortfall, etc.

to reduce the bad effect of there not being enough of something, for example money:

Many employers have been called upon to make good the deficits in their pension plans.
Exports of North Sea oil and gas dried up and failed to make good the shortfall in the manufacturing sector.
make sth good

to pay for or repair something that has been damaged:

The company is not under any liability to make good any damage to the site.
make good on sth

to do something that you have promised to do, for example paying back money that you owe or paying for the cost of damage you have caused:

The company did not acknowledge its future obligation to make good on the losses sustained by its offshore partnerships.
make or break

to cause someone or something either to be very successful, or to cause them to fail:

The first year of trading can make or break a new business.

makenoun [ C ]

uk /meɪk/ us

COMMERCE the name of a product made by a particular company, rather than by other companies that make similar products:

Depending on the make and model, delivery could take as little as a week.
What make of car do you drive?
See also
be on the make disapproving

to be trying very hard to get more money or power for yourself:

Many people assume that politicians are just on the make.

(Definition of “make” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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