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 Any snow that does fall should not accumulate too much besides a tenth or two of an inch. Star Tribune, "Cloudy Weekend Ahead With A Few Snow Showers Saturday Evening," 15 Jan. 2021 Though there are uncertainties in the forecast — like whether any of that rain-snow mix will accumulate — cold weather later this week is a certainty. Dallas News, "Meteorologists eyeing potential for rain-snow mix in Dallas-Fort Worth this week," 27 Dec. 2020 Viruses replicate quickly, and mutations are common due to tiny errors in copying genetic material, which can accumulate over time, giving rise to new variants that can behave slightly differently to older strains. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "U.K. Imposes Fresh Lockdowns to Curb New Covid-19 Strain," 19 Dec. 2020 Another possibility is a federal indictment, assuming investigators can accumulate enough evidence to implicate individual hackers. Eric Tucker, Anchorage Daily News, "With Trump silent, Biden and lawmakers sound alarm over massive US cybersecurity breach," 18 Dec. 2020 SSRIs also accumulate in structures called lysosomes, which act as the cell’s trash disposal system. Esther Landhuis, Wired, "How a Medication for OCD Ended Up in a Covid-19 Trial," 19 Nov. 2020 Can a team accumulate the necessary style points to impress the committee by grinding out defensive victories? Nathan Baird, cleveland, "From Ryan Day through Jim Harbaugh, the Big Ten coaching satisfaction rankings: College Football Monday Madness," 23 Nov. 2020 The weather service predicts several inches could accumulate in the coming days at the upper reaches of the Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort, for example. oregonlive, "Early-season snow expected on Mount Hood; drivers should prepare for wintry conditions," 5 Nov. 2020 The National Weather Service said up to a 1 foot of rain could accumulate in parts of Georgia, where multiple flash food warnings were issued Thursday. Anchorage Daily News, "Rescue, recovery and a wary eye on rising rivers in the US South in the wake of Hurricane Sally," 17 Sep. 2020

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

26 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Accumulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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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

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