Growing pains. Some readers are alarmed by the spread of the transitive grow beyond its agricultural domain. Growing corn and tomatoes is all very well, say Alan Rechel of Belmont [Mass.] and Tom Halsted of Manchester [Mass.], but when did growing a business and growing the economy become part of the language? I shared their pain when I first saw grow used this way (in Inc. magazine, 20 years ago), but I haven't found any good arguments against it, aside from the taint of jargon -- and that will fade with time and use. After all, if you can grow a beard or a crystal, why not a business?
In fact, this sense existed long ago, according to the OED, which gives an example (here modernized) from 1481: "When David had reigned seven years in Hebron, he grew and amended much this city."* So let's look on the bright side: We're not gaining a neologism, we're reclaiming a bit of our linguistic heritage.
*Originally: "Whan dauid had regned vii. yere in Ebron he grewe [Fr. creut] and amended moche this cyte [Jerusalem]." The quote is from Caxton's translation of "Godeffroy of Boloyne, or the Siege and Conqueste of Jerusalem," a 12th-century French account of the first Crusade.