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 Berreth wanted to be a cargo plane pilot and worked multiple jobs to accumulate the experience and money needed to achieve her dream, her mother, Cheryl Berreth testified. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Kelsey Berreth murder case: Cheryl Berreth, victim’s mother, takes the stand, defense says case has “serious foundational issues”," 1 Nov. 2019 Cranes are continuing to accumulate across North America, according to RLB’s latest report – increasing in each of the past four years. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive, "Oregon Insight: Portland construction cranes are an economic barometer," 1 Nov. 2019 Managers may prove less willing to allow unsold inventory to accumulate as orders slow, said Buckley Brinkman, executive director for the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, "In manufacturing Midwest, signs of trouble amid good times," 29 Oct. 2019 His burdens started to accumulate almost 35 years ago. Los Angeles Times, "He was seeking custom-made boots. The journey led to a life deeply touched by love and death and leather," 22 Oct. 2019 Billionaires will be able to accumulate more and more wealth without any barrier. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "The U.S. tax system is "a new engine of inequality"," 16 Oct. 2019 An additional 4 to 8 inches of snow is expected to accumulate Wednesday evening in the area, primarily through Broad Pass around Mile 201 of the Parks Highway. Anchorage Daily News, "Drivers can expect snowy evening road conditions north of Talkeetna, NWS says," 9 Oct. 2019 This double taxation obviously creates a real disincentive to accumulate capital. Veronique De Rugy, National Review, "Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth-Tax Trap," 26 Sep. 2019 Given the racial wealth gap, black families are also less likely to have accumulated wealth to fall back on in hard times. Bryce Covert, Longreads, "Downsizing the American Black Middle Class," 24 Sep. 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

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Accumulate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 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

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