activate

verb
ac·​ti·​vate | \ ˈak-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce activate (audio) \
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

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Other Words from activate

activation \ ˌak-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce activate (audio) \ noun
activator \ ˈak-​tə-​ˌvā-​tər How to pronounce activate (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web To get started, activate the bike by scanning the QR code on the bike's display using either the Lyft app or your bike-share system's dedicated app. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, 2 June 2021 The allegations state all the other officers also failed to properly activate their cameras, and the two accused of excessive force are also alleged to have conducted an improper vehicle pursuit of the teen, the records show. Jeremy Gorner, chicagotribune.com, 1 June 2021 As a start, leaders must activate their emotional intelligence, especially when topics surface where widely disparate views are held. Sharon Richmond, Forbes, 28 May 2021 Coy, who had a long history of complaints from citizens, was fired Dec. 28 for failing to activate his body camera before the confrontation and for not providing medical aid to Hill. CBS News, 14 May 2021 He was fired on Dec. 28 for failing to activate his body camera before the confrontation and for not providing medical aid to Hill. Farnoush Amiri And Andrew Welsh-huggins, Star Tribune, 4 Feb. 2021 The city of Waukegan, Ill., released videos late Wednesday from a police officer’s fatal shooting of a Black teenager, as the mayor revealed that the officer had been fired in part for failing to activate his body camera before the shooting. Mark Guarino, Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2020 If an officer fails to activate the camera or the technology does not work, the officer must notify a supervisor. Amelia Pak-harvey, The Indianapolis Star, 3 Aug. 2020 Having an upper body workout that focuses more on using your brain to activate your muscles will help build a stronger foundation for future strength training. Sarah Madaus, SELF, 24 Apr. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for activate

Time Traveler

The first known use of activate was in 1624

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Statistics for activate

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Activate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/activate. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for activate

activate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of activate

: to cause (a device) to start working
chemistry : to cause (a chemical reaction or natural process) to begin
chiefly US : to order (soldiers) to serve in a war

activate

verb
ac·​ti·​vate | \ ˈak-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce activate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce activate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce activate (audio) \ noun

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