ac·​cel·​er·​ate | \ ik-ˈse-lə-ˌrāt How to pronounce accelerate (audio) , ak- \
accelerated; accelerating

Definition of accelerate

intransitive verb

1 : to move faster : to gain speed The car slowly accelerated. The pace of change has accelerated in recent months.
2 : to progress from grade to grade more rapidly than usual : to follow a speeded-up educational program

transitive verb

1 : to bring about at an earlier time Circumstances accelerated their departure.
2 : to cause to move faster accelerated his steps also : to cause to undergo acceleration
3a : to hasten the progress or development of accelerate our efforts
b : increase accelerate food production
4a : to enable (a student) to complete a course in less than usual time
b : to speed up (something, such as a course of study)

Examples of accelerate in a Sentence

She stepped on the gas and the car accelerated. The plane accelerated down the runway. She stepped on the gas and accelerated the car. He says that cutting taxes will help to accelerate economic growth. The rate of economic growth has continued to accelerate.
Recent Examples on the Web That process must accelerate in May and into June so that Johnson can earn the coaching staff’s full trust before training camp. Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune, 17 May 2022 The findings may accelerate the pace of new rechargeable battery design and development. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 13 May 2022 The truck does these things very well and can, in fact, accelerate up a highway on-ramp pulling a 5,000-pound trailer with remarkable ease. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, 11 May 2022 Turmoil overseas could potentially accelerate inflation in the coming months. Christopher Rugaber, ajc, 11 May 2022 The Biden administration plans to accelerate the process for moving seized superyachts through the US court system, with the goal of selling off the assets and donating the proceeds to Ukraine. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, 9 May 2022 Because if the flows were to be severely restricted, the declines in Lake Mead would accelerate. Ian Jamesstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2022 Inflation can rise, grow, increase, accelerate, quicken, fall, slow, decelerate or ease. WSJ, 6 May 2022 However, Simson said the E.U. must accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, diversify energy supplies and increase energy stockpiles. Washington Post, 3 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of accelerate

circa 1522, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for accelerate

borrowed from Latin accelerātus, past participle of accelerāre "to add speed to, hasten the occurrence of, go quickly," from ad- ad- + celerāre "to hasten," verbal derivative of celer "swift, speedy," perhaps going back to *keli-li-/ri-, derivative from the Indo-European base of Greek kélomai, kelésthai "urge, exhort," kelēt-, kélēs "swift horse, charger"

Learn More About accelerate

Time Traveler for accelerate

Time Traveler

The first known use of accelerate was circa 1522

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near accelerate




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for accelerate

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Accelerate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for accelerate


ac·​cel·​er·​ate | \ ak-ˈse-lə-ˌrāt How to pronounce accelerate (audio) \
accelerated; accelerating

Kids Definition of accelerate

1 : to move or cause to move faster The car accelerated going downhill.
2 : to cause to happen more quickly Using plant food accelerates growth.


ac·​cel·​er·​ate | \ ik-ˈsel-ə-ˌrāt, ak- How to pronounce accelerate (audio) \
accelerated; accelerating

Medical Definition of accelerate

transitive verb

: to cause to move faster or speed up accelerated speech and motor activity in manic patients also : to cause to undergo acceleration

intransitive verb

: to move faster : gain speed


accelerated; accelerating

Legal Definition of accelerate

transitive verb

: to bring about at an earlier time: as
a : to advance (the maturity date of a security agreement) so that payment of the debt in full is due immediately — see also acceleration clause
b : to cause (a future interest in property) to vest by removing the preceding interests (as by failure or premature termination)

intransitive verb

: to enforce an acceleration clause held that the creditor's right to accelerate was suspended— J. J. White and R. S. Summers

Other Words from accelerate

acceleration noun

More from Merriam-Webster on accelerate

Nglish: Translation of accelerate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of accelerate for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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