Is there any situation/circumstance that a native speaker would differentiate between these?

My specific questions is traced back to the dictionaries such as Oxford, as there has been written that they are synonym.

bring up


Any help would be appreciated

  • 1
    In the "raise a question" sense, or the "raise a child" sense? Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 9:22
  • Note that pedantic/traditional speakers, especially of British English, may prefer rear to raise. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 18:44
  • This question may bring up a few eyebrows...
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 13:24

4 Answers 4


As with many things, it's all about the context. In a lot of circumstances "bring up" and "raise" are synonymous.

e.g. I might say

I brought up 3 children


I raised 3 children

and the meaning would be the same.

Or in a meeting:

I would like to bring up an important issue


I would like to raise an important issue

would be interchangeable.

However if I was a farmer I would almost certainly say

I raise cattle and sheep


I bring up cattle and sheep

For another example, from time to time my cat brings up furballs which I have to clean off the carpet. I would not say my cat raises furballs, and if I did it certainly wouldn't mean the same thing.


In general, they mean the same and are interchangeable. You can raise or bring up (or rear) a child, children, or a family.

We do differentiate the terms in some standard phrases:

Let's get married and raise a family.

I was born and raised in California.

Otherwise, they are synonyms, as well as the verb 'to rear', as in to rear children, to rear a family. 'To rear' may not be used as often as it once was, and it sounds kind of old fashioned.

You can also bring up or raise a question. But you don't rear a question. And in class you raise your hand to ask a question, you do not bring up your hand.

  • Since your question doesn’t specify any context, I should point out that “raise” is used in connection with things that can be expressed with numbers; e.g., “raise the quota”, “raise the price.”
  • “Raising your voice” means “speaking louder”.
  • It seems to me that “raise” works better than “bring up” in physical/mechanical/spatial contexts; e.g., “raise the flag,” “raise your hands,” “raise the bar.”
  • … but “bring up” might be used by a speaker who is in an elevated location: “If you’re coming upstairs, bring up the dictionary.”

I would like to add here some trainers believe that Raise is used when someone was born and raised in the same city/country/town e.g I was born and raised in Delhi.

However,if someone was born in one city/place but was brought up at some other place, we use brought up not raised. e.g. He was born in Delhi but was brought up in Mumbai.

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