To bring from latency to or toward fulfillment: an instructor who develops the capabilities of each student. To expand or enlarge: developed a national corporation into a worldwide business. To aid in the growth of; strengthen: exercises that develop muscles. To improve the quality of; refine: develops his recipes to perfection; an extra year of study to develop virtuosic technique. To cause to become more complex or intricate; add detail and fullness to; elaborate: began with a good premise but developed it without imagination. Music To elaborate (a theme) with rhythmic and harmonic variations. To bring into being gradually: develop a new cottage industry. To set forth or clarify by degrees: developed her thesis in a series of articles. To come to have gradually; acquire: develop a taste for opera; develop a friendship. To become affected with; contract; developed a rash; developed agoraphobia. To cause gradually to acquire a specific role, function, or form, as: To influence the behavior of toward a specific end: an investigator who develops witnesses through flattery and intimidation. To cause (a tract of land) to serve a particular purpose: developed the site as a community of condominiums. To make available and effective to fulfill a particular end or need: develop the state's water resources to serve a growing population. To convert or transform: developed the play into a movie. Games To move (a chess piece) to or toward a more strategic position. To process (a photosensitive material), especially with chemicals, in order to render a recorded image visible. To render (an image) visible by this means. To grow by degrees into a more advanced or mature state: With hard work, she developed into a great writer. See Synonyms at mature. To increase or expand. To improve; advance: Their skill developed until it rivaled their teacher's. To come gradually into existence or activity: Tension developed between students and faculty. To come gradually to light; be disclosed: reports the news as it develops. Biology To progress from earlier to later stages of a life cycle: Caterpillars develop into butterflies. Biology To progress from earlier to later or from simpler to more complex stages of evolution.