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

Under ReLive > Overlay users can also activate the webcam settings for streaming and recording. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "AMD ReLive review: A stylish video capture tool for Radeon graphics cards," 31 Jan. 2019 Rather than having the entire piece run on a timed loop, some individual scenes and transitions are triggered by an on-site stage manager, while others are activated by the way the participant handles certain props. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Chained mixes virtual reality and live actors to tell a dark Christmas tale," 5 Dec. 2018 With the walk signal, pedestrians can activate a flashing beacon by pushing a button by a traffic signal that causes a light to flash repetitively on signs located within parkways near the road. Todd Shields, chicagotribune.com, "Public invited to share thoughts on safety upgrades at Ela, Long Grove roads near Barrington," 19 June 2018 The state of Michigan is activating its operation center in the wake of severe road damage and flooding after heavy rainfall in the Upper Peninsula. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "Flooding in Houghton, Hancock prompts Michigan to open command center," 18 June 2018 The Rangers must activate outfielder Carlos Tocci from the DL this weekend. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Gallo becomes Rangers' backup plan in center field," 31 May 2018 The human figure for me is the point of the painting, the thing that activates the image. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "As Frieze Los Angeles Opens, Three Young California Artists Are Reinventing What Figurative Painting Can Be," 15 Feb. 2019 Last night, Telsa Motors sent a software update to its cars that activates two modes: Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Tesla Rolls Out Sentry Mode and Dog Mode to the Model 3," 14 Feb. 2019 Politics is increasingly revolving around fights that activate the Democratic-diverse America identity and the Republican-white America identity. Ezra Klein, Vox, "How identity politics elected Donald Trump," 5 Nov. 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

12 Apr 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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