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 activation (audio) \ noun
activator \ ˈak-​tə-​ˌvā-​tər How to pronounce activator (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

If the house has a sump pump, test it by slowly pouring in five gallons of water and see if the sump pump properly activates. Jessica Levy, The Courier-Journal, "What you need to know about plumbing before buying a home," 15 July 2019 Edwards had declared a state of emergency Wednesday, authorizing activating up to 3,000 soldiers and airmen from the Louisiana National Guard ahead of the storm, Baton Rouge's WBRZ-TV reported. Fox News, "President Trump declares state of emergency in Louisiana, sends federal assistance ahead of Tropical Storm Barry," 12 July 2019 Louisiana has activated 3,000 members of the National Guard in anticipation of the destruction Barry might bring to the region, the governor said. Madeline Holcombe And Derek Van Dam, CNN, "Barry a triple threat of storm surge, high rivers and flooding as it gets closer to Louisiana coast," 12 July 2019 Police activated their overhead lights and the three ran from the car’s back seat. Bob Sandrick, cleveland.com, "Police arrest woman who strips and urinates: Berea Police Blotter," 11 July 2019 Alabama is one of three states where hosting app Airbnb has activated its Open Homes Program for evacuees from Tropical Storm Barry. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al.com, "Airbnb activates Open Homes Program for storm evacuees," 11 July 2019 The officer was investigating a minor collision around 11:30 a.m. when a 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser rear-ended his patrol car, which had its emergency lights activated and was sitting on the ramp from Route 100 westbound to Route 29 northbound. Erin Logan, baltimoresun.com, "Police car struck in Ellicott City, officer in ‘fair condition’," 11 July 2019 Police said shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday two officers were responding to a call in an unmarked SUV, traveling southbound on Central Avenue with their emergency lights activated. Deanese Williams-harris, chicagotribune.com, "West Side man charged with DUI after injuring 3, including 2 cops," 10 July 2019 Daroga Power, a four-year-old solar developer, activated one such network in December. New York Times, "More New Yorkers Embrace Solar Power," 9 July 2019

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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Statistics for activate

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for activate

The first known use of activate was in 1624

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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 activation (audio) \ noun

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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

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