activate

verb
ac·​ti·​vate | \ˈak-tə-ˌvāt \
activated; activating

Definition of activate 

transitive verb

: to make active or more active: such as

a(1) : to make (something, such as a molecule) reactive or more reactive

(2) : to convert (something, such as a provitamin) into a biologically active derivative

b : to make (a substance) radioactive

c : to treat (a substance, such as carbon or alumina) so as to improve adsorptive properties

d(1) : to set up or formally institute (an organized group, such as a military unit) with the necessary personnel and equipment

(2) : to put (an individual or unit) on active duty

intransitive verb

: to become active

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from activate

activation \ˌak-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən \ noun
activator \ˈak-​tə-​ˌvā-​tər \ noun

Examples of activate in a Sentence

Touch the screen to activate the system. activate and then deactivate a mechanism The camera is activated by pushing a button. The bomb was activated by remote control. Sunlight activates a chemical reaction in the plant's leaves. vitamins that activate the growth of new cells The President has activated the reserves.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

On Thursday, November 8, Jupiter (the planet of fortune and expansion) moves into Sagittarius — your opposite sign — activating your partnership zone. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's November Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 28 Oct. 2018 Swoopes spent all of last season with the Seahawks, mostly on the practice squad before being activated to the 53-man roster for the final game. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks Tuesday injury report: K.J. Wright, Rasheem Green ruled out against the Raiders," 9 Oct. 2018 As Hurricane Florence, a Category 3 storm, drives toward the East Coast, Waffle House is monitoring the impending dangerous weather by activating its storm center. Fox News, "Hurricane Florence prompts Waffle House to activate storm center," 12 Sep. 2018 Souza is 1-for-7 with two RBI since being activated. Michael Beller, SI.com, "Matt Adams is Back from the DL and Ready to Help Fantasy Teams," 7 July 2018 The drug is inside a cloth wiped over the skin daily to block sweat glands from activating. Washington Post, "FDA OKs first drug made to reduce excessive sweating," 30 June 2018 The Angels have activated Shohei Ohtani from the disabled list for Tuesday's game against the Mariners, the team announced. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Angels Activate Shohei Ohtani From Disabled List," 3 July 2018 The agent was on foot looking at some sensor equipment that had been activated and then was attacked in an area south of Arivaca, which is about 10 miles from the border with Mexico. Keith Allen And Steve Almasy, CNN, "Border Patrol agent shot in Arizona gunfight was first responder for his own wounds," 13 June 2018 Weems sped up in his 2014 Dodge Charger to 130 mph with his lights and siren activated as the motorcycle headed east, following him at 125 mph for just under a mile to attempt to stop the motorcycle, the release states. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Motorcyclist arrested after going 135 mph on I-80/94 in Northwest Indiana, police say," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'activate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of activate

1624, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for activate

active entry 1 + -ate entry 4, probably as adaptation of French activer, going back to Middle French, derivative of actif active entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about activate

Statistics for activate

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for activate

The first known use of activate was in 1624

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for activate

activate

verb
ac·​ti·​vate | \ˈak-tə-ˌvāt \
activated; activating

Kids Definition of activate

: to start working or cause to start working Activate the alarm.

activate

transitive verb
ac·​ti·​vate | \ˈak-tə-ˌvāt \
activated; activating

Medical Definition of activate 

: to make active or more active: as

a : to convert into a biologically active derivative or form activated plasminogen

b : to make biologically or molecularly active activate protein synthesis The [spinal] cord also contains neuronal circuits …that can be activated by incoming sensory signals without input from the brain …— John W. McDonald et al., Scientific American, September 1999

c : to make (a substance) radioactive

Other Words from activate

activation \ˌak-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən \ noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on activate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with activate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for activate

Spanish Central: Translation of activate

Nglish: Translation of activate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of activate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on activate

What made you want to look up activate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!