actuate

play
verb ac·tu·ate \ ˈak-chə-ˌwāt , -shə- \

Definition of actuate

actuated; actuating
transitive verb
1 :to put into mechanical action or motion
  • The pump is actuated by the windmill.
2 :to move to action
  • a decision actuated by greed

actuation

play \ˌak-chə-ˈwā-shən, -shə-\ noun

Examples of actuate in a Sentence

  1. The pump is actuated by the windmill.

  2. a light actuated by a motion detector

Recent Examples of actuate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'actuate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of actuate

Medieval Latin actuatus, past participle of actuare to execute, from Latin actus act

Synonym Discussion of actuate

move, actuate, drive, impel mean to set or keep in motion. move is very general and implies no more than the fact of changing position.
    • moved the furniture
actuate stresses transmission of power so as to work or set in motion.
    • turbines actuated by waterpower
drive implies imparting forward and continuous motion and often stresses the effect rather than the impetus.
    • a ship driven aground by hurricane winds
impel is usually figurative and suggests a great motivating impetus.
    • a candidate impelled by ambition

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms


ACTUATE Defined for English Language Learners

actuate

play
verb

Definition of actuate for English Language Learners

  • : to make (a machine or electrical device) move or operate

  • : to cause someone to do something or to act in a certain way



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