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

Tear gas is characterized as a chemical warfare agent, according to the Geneva Convention; these are gases that specifically activate pain-sensing nerves, according to National Geographic. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "U.S. Border Patrol Agents Used Tear Gas to Disperse Hundreds of People in the Migrant Caravan," 26 Nov. 2018 However, activating the brain’s reward system unleashes chemical signals that thwart this web of checks and balances in a manner that disables these pro-tumor MDSCs. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Could Brain Stimulation Slow Cancer?," 13 July 2018 Shortly after, Disbro activated his flashing lights and attempted to pull the troopers over, DPS said in a news release. Brieanna J Frank, azcentral, "DPS: Man impersonating officer arrested after attempting to pull over troopers," 12 July 2018 Police are also reminding residents to lock their car and garage doors, secure car keys inside the home, activate alarm systems and enhance exterior lighting, if possible. Steve Schering, chicagotribune.com, "7 car burglaries reported in 2 days in River Forest, police say," 6 July 2018 These jumps will get your heart rate going, says Samuel, and also activate your glutes. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Strengthen Your Glutes With This 5-Part Banded Circuit From Dogpound Trainer Emily Samuel," 13 Feb. 2019 Overall, activating ReLive dropped the average frame rate by a small but noticeable 5 to 10 frames per second in each game. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "AMD ReLive review: A stylish video capture tool for Radeon graphics cards," 31 Jan. 2019 According to some other users, the bug can also be used to activate a person's video without their consent. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "New iPhone FaceTime Bug Lets People Eavesdrop On Your Conversations and Apple Is Scrambling to Fix It," 29 Jan. 2019 The realignment is part of Democrats’ broader shift to the left on a range of issues, accelerated by insurgent energy activated following Mr. Trump’s election. Reid J. Epstein, WSJ, "The Democratic Party’s New Litmus Test: Gun Control," 9 Aug. 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.

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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

15 Mar 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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