galvanize

verb
gal·​va·​nize | \ ˈgal-və-ˌnīz \
galvanized; galvanizing

Definition of galvanize

transitive verb

1a : to subject to the action of an electric current especially for the purpose of stimulating physiologically galvanize a muscle
b : to stimulate or excite as if by an electric shock an issue that would galvanize public opinion
2 : to coat (iron or steel) with zinc especially : to immerse in molten zinc to produce a coating of zinc-iron alloy

intransitive verb

: to react as if stimulated by an electric shock they galvanized into action

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from galvanize

galvanization \ ˌgal-​və-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən \ noun
galvanizer \ ˈgal-​və-​ˌnī-​zər \ noun

The Scientific Origins of Galvanize

Luigi Galvani was an Italian physician and physicist who, in the 1770s, studied the electrical nature of nerve impulses by applying electrical stimulation to frogs' leg muscles, causing them to contract. Although Galvani's theory that animal tissue contained an innate electrical impulse was disproven, the Italian word galvanismo came to describe a current of electricity especially when produced by chemical action. English speakers borrowed the word as galvanism around 1797; the verb galvanize appeared a few years later, in the early 19th century. Charlotte Brontë used the verb figuratively in her 1853 novel Villette: "Her approach always galvanized him to new and spasmodic life." These days, galvanize also means to cover metal with zinc or a zinc alloy to protect it from rust (as in galvanized carpentry nails).

Examples of galvanize in a Sentence

The group is hoping to galvanize public opinion against the proposed law. The Web site has galvanized support for the project. a factory where steel is galvanized
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

This latest allegation or accuser seems to have at least in part galvanized some of the Republicans to say, hey, wait a second. Fox News, "Brett Kavanaugh hit with more sexual assault allegations," 25 Sep. 2018 Feinstein said — words that had the unintended consequence of galvanizing conservative religious support for Barrett and possibly propelling her to the top of the Supreme Court candidates list. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Trump has ‘outsourced’ his Supreme Court picks to this conservative group," 8 July 2018 That, after all, is precisely what happened after 1973, with the roles reversed, when Roe galvanized a right-wing revolution. Jonathan Zimmerman, The New Republic, "Overturning Roe v. Wade Could Remake American Politics," 5 July 2018 But a similar survey conducted by the university's Student Senate in 2016 again showed support — 56 percent — for a tobacco ban, and students galvanized again. Katy Bergen, kansascity, "Say goodbye to smoking, vaping or using tobacco anywhere at KU," 3 July 2018 My favorites in a strong field included an unlikely but galvanizing trio of sherry, mezcal and ginger called My Sherry Amour and a Sandia Mule made with ginger beer, fresh watermelon and Wild Rag Mesquite Vodka from Sandia, Texas. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, "Review: Cured makes a 3½-star statement at the Pearl," 28 June 2018 Over the years, he’s acquired quite the inventory, including pine flooring, barn wood, galvanized tin and shiplap. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "There's more than just shiplap to salvage around the Midwest. Here's where to find some treasures," 1 June 2018 Now, at Celine his visions of clubwear and ’80s shapes have galvanized the industry, both for and against. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Meet the People, Trends, and Products That Will Rule Fashion in 2019," 17 Dec. 2018 This opposition could, in theory, galvanize enough support to block the amendment at either the legislative or referendum level. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "New Jersey Democrats have a new gerrymandering plan. It is indefensible — and national Democrats need to stop it.," 14 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'galvanize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of galvanize

1802, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for galvanize

borrowed from French galvaniser, from Luigi galvani (who conducted pioneering experiments in bioelectricity) + -iser -ize

Note: See note at galvanism.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about galvanize

Listen to Our Podcast about galvanize

Statistics for galvanize

Last Updated

19 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for galvanize

The first known use of galvanize was in 1802

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for galvanize

galvanize

verb

English Language Learners Definition of galvanize

: to cause (people) to become so excited or concerned about an issue, idea, etc., that they want to do something about it

: to cause (a force that is capable of causing change) to become active

: to cover (steel or iron) with a layer of zinc to prevent it from rusting

galvanize

verb
gal·​va·​nize | \ ˈgal-və-ˌnīz \
galvanized; galvanizing

Kids Definition of galvanize

1 : to excite about something so that action is taken Increasing litter galvanized children to clean up the park.
2 : to coat with zinc for protection The steel was galvanized to prevent it from rusting.

galvanize

transitive verb
gal·​va·​nize
variants: or British galvanise \ ˈgal-​və-​ˌnīz \
galvanized or British galvanised; galvanizing or British galvanising

Medical Definition of galvanize

: to subject to the action of an electric current especially for the purpose of stimulating physiologically galvanize a muscle

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on galvanize

What made you want to look up galvanize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

means, resources, or money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!