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

So the ultimate answer might be to deploy living bacteria after all, which would flourish wherever antibiotics accumulate. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "Bacteria That Eat Drugs Could Help Solve the Antibiotic Resistance Crisis," 8 Nov. 2018 The image offers a closer look at a field of sand dunes that's accumulated on the floor of the Lyot Crater. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "NASA shares photo of blue sand dune on Mars," 27 June 2018 On Monday night, as the replays accumulated on cable news shows, a nationwide rally for June 30 in Washington D.C. was announced to protest the separation of families. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Can tape of sobbing child detainees join shocking sounds, images that have shaped history?," 20 June 2018 Strands of volcanic glass called as Pele's hair was accumulating on the ground in Leilani Estates and surrounding neighborhoods, and winds may blow lighter particles farther away, scientists said. Caleb Jones, Fox News, "Current lava flows are hottest, fastest of latest eruption," 1 June 2018 That releases some of the seismic strain accumulating on the fault as the Pacific plate slides northwest relative to the North American plate, but not the lion’s share. Rong-gong Lin Ii,, "East Bay fault is 'tectonic time bomb,' more dangerous than San Andreas, new study finds," 18 Apr. 2018 Meanwhile, areas closer to St. Joseph and across northern Missouri could see accumulating snow mostly on grassy surfaces late Sunday afternoon and evening. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, "Kansas City gets more snow in April; here's how much is expected to fall | The Kansas City Star," 8 Apr. 2018 Whisk in oil and any accumulated juices on plate with chicken. Molly Baz, Bon Appetit, "Lemon Chicken Thighs," 26 Mar. 2018 This is in sharp contrast to the brisk northeast winds that held temperatures in the mid-30s while bringing snow showers that accumulated up to 3 inches in parts of northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana on Tuesday. Tom Skilling,, "Milder air returns briefly Wednesday," 14 Mar. 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

10 Jan 2019

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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

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