ac·​cel·​er·​a·​tor | \ ik-ˈse-lə-ˌrā-tər , ak-\

Definition of accelerator

: one that accelerates: such as
a : a muscle or nerve that speeds the performance of an action
b : a device (such as a pedal) for controlling the speed of a motor vehicle engine
c : a substance that speeds a chemical reaction
d : an apparatus for imparting high velocities to charged particles (such as electrons)
e : an item of computer hardware that increases the speed at which a program or function operates a graphics accelerator

Examples of accelerator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Ford’s plan is far grander and will involve up to 100,000 self-driving cars — with no steering wheel, accelerator, or brake pedal — operating in multiple U.S. cities, delivering people and packages around the clock. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Ford’s self-driving cars are really good, but are they good enough to win?," 15 Nov. 2018 The center, which is located on Augusta University’s Riverfront Campus, will include a secure briefing area and an incubator and accelerator to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, university officials said. Eric Stirgus, ajc, "$100 million cybersecurity center set to open in Augusta," 10 July 2018 In early 2018, though, the company won another $20,000, this time from local start-up accelerator Parallel18, as part of an initiative created to attract local entrepreneurs after the hurricane. Frances Solá-santiago, Glamour, "This Female-Founded Start-up Wants to Rebuild Puerto Rico's Fashion Industry," 16 Aug. 2018 Roux Carré will announce its new vendors and celebrate the end of its first accelerator class with a dinner on March 11, featuring Alma, QueenTrini Lisa, Localmenunola, and KD's NOLA Treats LLC. Ann Maloney,, "Could a single lunch change your views on race and wealth?," 28 Feb. 2018 The Texas Medical Center's Innovation Institute announced the 24 startups selected for its sixth accelerator class. Ileana Najarro, Houston Chronicle, "TMCX announces its new startup class," 2 Feb. 2018 This car can do zero to 186 mph in 24 seconds, so flattening the accelerator is an exercise in willpower, a game of chicken against the oncoming specter of bad consequences. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "I Took a Road Trip in a Supercar," 2 Feb. 2016 This circular system takes up much less space than many other proton accelerators, which propel protons through long, linear pathways at facilities the size of football fields. Bonnie Berkowitz,, "Hospitals use protons to fight cancer," 14 Mar. 2018 My first car, purchased in the early 1960s, had an unusual problem: The accelerator pedal sometimes stuck to the floor. Stephen Miller, WSJ, "Capitalism Fixed My Car," 13 Aug. 2018

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

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First Known Use of accelerator

1611, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for accelerator

accelerate + -or entry 1

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Last Updated

26 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for accelerator

The first known use of accelerator was in 1611

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More Definitions for accelerator



English Language Learners Definition of accelerator

: a pedal in a vehicle that is pressed down to make the vehicle go faster
technical : a machine that causes charged particles (such as electrons and protons) to move at extremely high speeds


ac·​cel·​er·​a·​tor | \ ak-ˈse-lə-ˌrā-tər \

Kids Definition of accelerator

: a pedal in an automobile for controlling the speed of the motor


ac·​cel·​er·​a·​tor | \ ik-ˈsel-ə-ˌrāt-ər, ak- \

Medical Definition of accelerator

: one that accelerates: as
a : a muscle or nerve that speeds the performance of an action a cardiac accelerator
b : a substance that speeds a chemical reaction
c : an apparatus for imparting high velocities to charged particles (as electrons)

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More from Merriam-Webster on accelerator

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with accelerator

Spanish Central: Translation of accelerator

Nglish: Translation of accelerator for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of accelerator for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about accelerator

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