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failure to thrive

A medical term used to describe an infant or young child who has experienced delays in physical growth, for a variety of possible reasons. I'm a bit concerned about little Howie's failure to thrive, so I want you to bring him back the office next week for further examination.
See also: failure, thrive

thrive (up)on something

to grow vigorously because of something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) These plants thrive upon wet soil. Children thrive on love.
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thrive on

To flourish by or as if by feeding on something: The bears thrived on a rich harvest of berries.
See also: thrive