Pav·​lov·​i·​an pav-ˈlȯ-vē-ən How to pronounce Pavlovian (audio)
-ˈlȯ-fē- How to pronounce Pavlovian (audio)
: of or relating to Ivan Pavlov or to his work and theories
Pavlovian conditioning
: being or expressing a conditioned or predictable reaction : automatic
the candidates gave Pavlovian answers

Examples of Pavlovian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The regularity of her calls transformed me into a Pavlovian dog. Cheryl Maguire, Washington Post, 24 Feb. 2024 Byredo Tree House Candle The smell of this candle has a Pavlovian effect on me. Lily Moayeri, SPIN, 15 Feb. 2024 And there’s no small irony, of course, that this is Slack doing this survey—the same workplace messaging app that lets coworkers contact you at all hours (even if there are good tools to silence that Pavlovian ding). Jena McGregor, Forbes, 11 Dec. 2023 Some can be used for shock training, while others simply vibrate, create a tapping sensation, or use auditory stimulation, such as beeping or Pavlovian tones. Theresa Holland, Peoplemag, 17 July 2023 Notifications The buzzes, chimes and dings are phone make are Pavlovian. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, 16 July 2023 More recent tendentious campaign features by Dinesh D’Souza and Steve Bannon are essentially Pavlovian infomercials. J. Hoberman, The New Republic, 22 June 2023 After all, wearing the same thing every day is a shortcut to crafting a Pavlovian identity in the hive mind — not just in Silicon Valley but in pretty much any arena. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 14 June 2023 Watching the clips flash by to the deeply Pavlovian strain of John Williams’ iconic theme music transported me to a time when going to the movies was a part of, if not daily, then weekly life. Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Pavlovian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Pavlovian was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near Pavlovian

Cite this Entry

“Pavlovian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


: of or relating to Ivan Pavlov or to his work and theories
Pavlovian conditioning
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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