Definition of activate
: to make active or more active: such asa (1) : to make (something, such as a molecule) reactive or more reactive (2) : to convert (something, such as a provitamin) into a biologically active derivativeb : to make (a substance) radioactivec : to treat (a substance, such as carbon or alumina) so as to improve adsorptive propertiesd (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
: to become active
activationplay \ˌak-tə-ˈvā-shən\ noun
activatorplay \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.
Recent Examples of activate from the Web
This draws out the juice and activates pectin which helps thicken jam.
The nation's air defense system was immediately activated.
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There were no invitations in her album rollout to activate in sustainable, meaningful ways.
At some point during the altercation with the two officers, one of the officers activated his emergency button requesting all available assistance.
Fowler, the engineer who helped activate the public’s awareness of these issues, appears to agree.
RHP Jim McDade was transferred from Fort Wayne to Tri-City as RHP Wilmer Torres was activated from Fort Wayne’s disabled list.
At the same time, a new signalized intersection just west of the I-75 interchange was also activated to direct motorists to the new I-75 southbound entrance ramp from Miami Gardens Drive via a left turn.
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.
First Known Use of activate
ACTIVATE Defined for Kids
Definition of activate for Students
: to start working or cause to start working Activate the alarm.
Medical Definition of activate
: to make active or more active: asa: to convert into a biologically active derivative or form activated plasminogenb: 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 1999c: to make (a substance) radioactive
activation\ˌak-tə-ˈvā-shən\ play noun
Seen and Heard
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