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

The drug inhibits an enzyme, farnesyl transferase, that activates a number of proteins, some of which are involved in cancer. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Kura Oncology reports lymphoma success with cancer drug," 17 June 2019 Citrine is a bright yellow stone that activates the imagination and stimulates creativity. Sarah Lazarus, The New Yorker, "Healing Crystals and How to Shoplift Them," 8 June 2019 But just as the speed of a car depends on the balance between the pressure on the accelerator and the brake, the activity of the immune system reflects a balance between mechanisms that activate and inhibit it. Quanta Magazine, "Nobel Prize Awarded for Cancer Immunotherapy," 1 Oct. 2018 An Insider is a Journal Sentinel subscriber who has activated their account online. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Win Tickets to Festa Italiana," 10 July 2018 On the second floor, a ravioli bar and Divisi Strings performance activated shortly after Sue Smith delivered brief remarks. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Holocaust Museum Houston surprises Sue Smith, remembers late wildcatter Lester Smith at "First Look"," 17 June 2019 Vinsanity activated passions that Canada never knew existed. Andrew Sharp, SI.com, "We The Champs: Kawhi, Masai and the Legend of the 2019 Raptors," 14 June 2019 Don’t expect any updates activating Nvidia's hybrid ray tracing for more lifelike lighting, shadows, and reflections in games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider at release, either. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Ray traced games won't launch with Nvidia's GeForce RTX graphics cards," 14 Sep. 2018 The honey-makers swarm up and out into a magical atmosphere activated by soaring paper airplanes and floating geometric shapes, letters of the alphabet, and numbers. Victoria Dalkey, sacbee, "Jack Alvarez explores his cultural roots in poetic images," 22 June 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

5 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

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