Date: Sun, 28 Jun 1998 15:16:48 EDT
From: Ron Butters
Subject: Early GROWS 'cause to increase/develop'

In a message dated 6/28/98 3:21:50 AM, Don Lance wrote:

<< People have recently started using the verb
'grow' in a new sense -- "to cause growth, or an increase in growth rate,
to occur.">>


Check out the OED s.v. GROW 14d ('to cause to develop into') which gives an
1844 cite ("It requires a length of time to grow the boys . . . into men");
14e ('to cause to increase, to enlarge') is listed as obsolete, but the
innovative sense that Don mentions is found in Caxton ("When David had reigned
vii year in Ebron he grewe and amended moche this city"--481).

Am I the only person who vaguely remembers having had this conversation a
number of years ago, specifically in the context of politicians discussing
plans to "grow the economy"? My own vague memory is that GROW in this sense
has been around for a generation (and commented on before, perhaps, e.g., in
"Among the New Words"). Has anyone checked an unabridged American dictionary
for this? Checked the AMERICAN SPEECH indexes for ATNW commentary?