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 At the Cascadia subduction zone off the Pacific Northwest, for example, GPS stations on land suggest that enough strain has accumulated to drive a magnitude-9 earthquake when the fault finally ruptures. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Drones reveal earthquake hazards hidden in the abyss," 14 Nov. 2019 The Chainsmokers invited Milwaukee dancer Christopher Gilbert on stage during their performance at Fiserv Forum Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Milwaukee dancer and musician Christopher Gilbert has accumulated many titles during his career. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Milwaukee dancer wowed the crowd and the Chainsmokers during their Fiserv Forum concert," 13 Nov. 2019 That atmosphere is one of the many reasons why Auburn has accumulated a 39-9 home record under Malzahn, including four wins against rivals Georgia and Alabama in six attempts at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Tom Green |, al, "Auburn players expect fans to ‘bring some juice’ to Jordan-Hare Stadium for Georgia game," 11 Nov. 2019 The 17-year-old rapper took to Instagram to blow up his song, which has now accumulated more than 170 million views on YouTube. Washington Post, "15 things to do in the D.C. area this weekend," 7 Nov. 2019 Breckenridge currently has an 18 inch base and has accumulated 49 inches of total snowfall so far for the season. Taylor Sienkiewicz, The Know, "Breckenridge and Copper Mountain gear up for a beautiful opening weekend," 5 Nov. 2019 United’s top rusher is James Wilson, who has accumulated 731 yards over 109 attempts and nine touchdowns. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Deer Park looks for exclamation mark to splendid 21-6A football campaign," 5 Nov. 2019 This approach allows scientists to learn about the ground beneath the GPS receiver — for instance how much moisture the soil contains or how much snow has accumulated on the surface. Alexandra Witze, Smithsonian, "Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know GPS Could Do," 1 Nov. 2019 This process, to occur when rainfall of 2 inches or more has accumulated in a 24-hour period or after an hour of sustained winds more than 30 mph, was triggered by Thursday’s weather. Jess Nocera,, "Howard County Executive Calvin Ball addresses response to Thursday storms in Ellicott City, greater county," 1 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for accumulate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for accumulate

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Accumulate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for accumulate


How to pronounce accumulate (audio)

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).


very cautious or careful

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