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 There are only 13 games remaining, so why activate him now? Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, 19 Sep. 2021 Unfortunately, despite the terabytes of data that are available, many organizations fail to activate it in ways that can guarantee them success. Anita Raj, Forbes, 7 Sep. 2021 The amendment’s proponents have put a lot of effort into recruiting grassroots supporters, and plainly feel that the cause is one that can activate them. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, 29 July 2021 Fisher is out of minor-league options, so once his last rehab assignment expired, the Brewers had to activate him or try to get him through waivers to stay in the organization. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 June 2021 The question is will the Bears want to keep the option available to activate him during the season? Brad Biggs, chicagotribune.com, 29 Aug. 2021 That's going to lead into early September, which gives us the last couple of weeks in September to possibly activate him. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 19 Aug. 2021 The Arf Pets Self-Cooling Dog Mat fulfills all of your pet's needs and more with its thoughtful design that keeps your dog cool for up to three hours at a time — all without using batteries, electricity or a freezer to activate it. Emily Belfiore, PEOPLE.com, 13 Aug. 2021 Once the first victim has been infected, the ransomware will typically attempt to reach out to a C2 server for further instructions or to activate itself. Satish Mohan, Forbes, 10 June 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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Dictionary Entries Near activate

activable

activate

activated alumina

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Statistics for activate

Last Updated

23 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Activate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/activate. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for activate

activate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of activate

: to cause (a device) to start working
: to cause (a chemical reaction or natural process) to begin
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on activate

Nglish: Translation of activate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of activate for Arabic Speakers

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