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

Carman didn’t activate the emergency beacon on his boat, despite having opportunity to do so. Dave Altimari, courant.com, "Nathan Carman trial: insurance company lawyer says it was ‘predictable’ that boat would sink after Carman made changes," 13 Aug. 2019 Additionally, the Cardinals have activated tight end Charles Clay (knee) and cornerback Brandon Williams (back) off the physically unable to perform list. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Cardinals re-sign Pasoni Tasini, activate Charles Clay and Brandon Williams off PUP list," 11 Aug. 2019 That seems to be true for CTV as well, which has mutations that inactivate genes that slow down growth and other mutations that activate genes that promote growth. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Infectious cancer hasn’t done much over the last 4,000 years," 3 Aug. 2019 To access new areas, players have to draw on walls and that activates lights strung up around the town of Denska. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, "Preview: Painting happy little trees in ‘Concrete Genie’ reminds me of Bob Ross," 30 July 2019 The review described a system that would activate only in rare situations, when a plane was making a sharp turn at high speeds. Natalie Kitroeff, New York Times, "The Roots of Boeing’s 737 Max Crisis: A Regulator Relaxes Its Oversight," 27 July 2019 The ring pattern on the trees activates the app and in the viewfinder, the visitor finds the image of the corresponding AR plant. Lila Thulin, Smithsonian, "This Artist Imagines How Nature Evolves Following an Environmental Apocalypse," 19 July 2019 Yuste has launched experiments in mice that aim to reverse symptoms of schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease by stimulating ensembles of neurons that don't activate as strongly in the diseased mice as healthy ones. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Laser holograms stimulate brain cells in mice to probe roots of perception and hallucination," 18 July 2019 There are receptors in our cells that activate different pathways in our biology. Anchorage Daily News, "The science of good bud," 18 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

16 Aug 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

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