ac·​cu·​mu·​late | \ə-ˈkyü-m(y)ə-ˌlāt \
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

Decision-making authority continues to accumulate in the commission, the most bureaucratic and least representative of the EU’s many conflicting and conflicted governing bodies. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Europeans Wish They Had a Midterm Election," 8 Nov. 2018 Legal liability The hack underscores the risks and potential legal liability that comes from allowing personal data to accumulate over decades without regularly updating the software used to secure it. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Hack on 8 adult websites exposes oodles of intimate user data," 20 Oct. 2018 To give an idea of how much geomagnetic flux there is in the world: Just in their Japanese observation sites, just in 2015, Katori and Okubo were able to accumulate 500,000 data points. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Earth's Magnetic Fields Could Give Lightspeed Warning of Incoming Earthquakes and Tsunamis," 15 Oct. 2018 The slow movement of Florence means there’s more time for storm surge waters to accumulate over the next few days. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Hurricane Florence catastrophic flooding, rescues, and deaths: what we know," 14 Sep. 2018 Taurus is inspired by its surroundings, and in turn, likes to accumulate physical manifestations of their reality. Allure, "How the Sun's Position In Your Birth Chart Affects Your Zodiac Sign," 14 Aug. 2018 Government policy also impeded African Americans’ ability to accumulate wealth from saved income. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "What you should know about race-based affirmative action and diversity in schools," 3 July 2018 There simply hasn't been time to accumulate long-term data, says Wildon Farwell, senior medical director in clinical development at Biogen. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "U.S. Health secretary under pressure to approve screening of newborns for fatal genetic disease," 28 June 2018 Winkelmann worked to accumulate a clientele that included high-profile outfits like Fletcher Jones Motorcars. Andrew Turner,, "Joseph Winkelmann built the Jones Cup to last," 27 June 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

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for accumulate

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

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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 \
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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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