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

Given that somatic tissue mutations should accumulate in a plant's germ cells over successive generations, Schwoch wondered why plants don't wind up with many more such mutations than animals—and a greater burden of harmful ones. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Meet the monkeyflower, a weed that may hold the key to zebra stripes and other biological mysteries," 29 Aug. 2019 Finally, Fitbit Premium subscribers will also be able to distill accumulated data in one easy-to-read, printable report that will be developed in conjunction with medical professionals. Adrienne So, WIRED, "Fitbit Wants to Be Your One-Stop Health Care Shop," 28 Aug. 2019 The cyst was drained and a piece cut out to prevent it from accumulating fluid in the future. David Armstrong, ProPublica, "In Men, It’s Parkinson’s. In Women, It’s Hysteria.," 23 Aug. 2019 The researchers believe that human and animal waste accumulating in the stagnant waters around the settlement infected the fish, frogs, and shellfish with parasites, which would then infect humans when eaten raw. Fox News, "Ancient Britons had giant worms in their kidneys, study shows," 23 Aug. 2019 Fluoride crosses the placenta, and lab studies have shown that the mineral accumulates in brain regions involved in memory and learning, researchers said in background notes. Dennis Thompson,, "Could fluoride be bad for your baby during pregnancy?," 22 Aug. 2019 Former Florida Panthers enforcer Peter Worrell, who accumulated more than 1,500 penalty minutes in his NHL career, has been named hockey director of the team’s IceDen in Coral Springs. Brett Shweky,, "Former Florida Panthers enforcer Peter Worrell has a new role within the organization," 8 Aug. 2019 As with any major event, hindsight is always 20/20, and cultural significance largely accumulates over time, not in the moment. Annie Zaleski, Billboard, "How Was Woodstock Originally Reported 50 Years Ago?," 14 Aug. 2019 Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that is released into the environment from mining and burning coal, which can accumulate in fish in a more toxic form of methylmercury, the office’s report said. Joseph Geha, The Mercury News, "New safety guidelines issued for eating fish from Coyote Lake," 13 Aug. 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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Statistics for accumulate

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for accumulate

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

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More Definitions for accumulate



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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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