ac·​cu·​mu·​late | \ ə-ˈkyü-m(y)ə-ˌlāt How to pronounce accumulate (audio) \
accumulated; accumulating

Definition of accumulate

transitive verb

: to gather or pile up especially little by little : amass accumulate a fortune

intransitive verb

: to increase gradually in quantity or number snow accumulating to a depth of several feet

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Examples of accumulate in a Sentence

Evidence of his guilt is accumulating. the number of complaints about that mail order firm is really accumulating

Recent Examples on the Web

Yet knowing merely that middle-class African Americans have accumulated less wealth, live in less-advantaged neighborhoods, or more recently joined the middle class does not itself justify granting them preferences. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "What you should know about race-based affirmative action and diversity in schools," 3 July 2018 The SunPass system has accumulated toll charges for customer accounts since the system maintenance period began on June 1, officials said. Anne Geggis,, "Hit by a SunPass late fee? You're getting a break," 22 June 2018 In between cleanings, needles can accumulate just about anywhere in the station, said BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost. Dominic Fracassa,, "BART’s Civic Center station gets needle kiosk as part of cleanup push," 20 June 2018 Most of the children held on the border will have accumulated traumas, Dr. Brabeck said. Benedict Carey, New York Times, "A Troubling Prognosis for Migrant Children in Detention: ‘The Earlier They’re Out, the Better’," 18 June 2018 Officials say a backlog of garbage, human waste, bottles and hypodermic needles has accumulated in the woods and created a public health issue. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage wants to declare ‘clean-up zones’ for homeless camps," 12 June 2018 Such moves do not mean that Kushner has yet accumulated that debt, but has the ability to do so. NBC News, "New financial disclosure shows growing Jared Kushner wealth, debt," 12 June 2018 Such moves do not mean that Kushner has yet accumulated that debt, but has the ability to do so. CBS News, "Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump made more than $80 million in outside income last year," 11 June 2018 Damage from sunlight and its UV rays accumulates, Seldomridge says. Jill U. Adams,, "For Your Eyes: Sunglasses Even On A Cloudy Day," 31 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accumulate.' 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 accumulate

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for accumulate

borrowed from Latin accumulātus, past participle of accumulāre "to heap up, add to, increase," from ad- ad- + cumulāre "to gather into a heap" — more at cumulate

Note: In part a Latinization of Middle French accumuler.

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Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for accumulate

The first known use of accumulate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for accumulate



English Language Learners Definition of accumulate

: to gather or acquire (something) gradually as time passes
: to increase gradually in amount as time passes


ac·​cu·​mu·​late | \ ə-ˈkyü-myə-ˌlāt How to pronounce accumulate (audio) \
accumulated; accumulating

Kids Definition of accumulate

1 : collect sense 3, gather In a very short time they had accumulated all sorts of fascinating facts about tombs and temples …— Zilpha Keatley Snyder, The Egypt Game
2 : to increase in quantity or number My money is accumulating.


accumulated; accumulating

Legal Definition of accumulate

transitive verb

: to gather especially little by little specifically : to add (income from a fund) back into the principal

intransitive verb

: to increase gradually in amount or number

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Comments on accumulate

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


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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