cat·​a·​lyze | \ ˈka-tə-ˌlīz How to pronounce catalyze (audio) \
catalyzed; catalyzing

Definition of catalyze

transitive verb

1 : to bring about the catalysis of (a chemical reaction) an enzyme that catalyzes the breakdown of the sugars
2 : bring about, inspire his vigorous efforts to catalyze us into activity— Harrison Brown
3 : to alter significantly by or as if by catalysis innovations in basic chemical theory that have catalyzed the fieldNewsweek

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Other Words from catalyze

catalyzer noun

Examples of catalyze in a Sentence

a reinstitution of the draft would catalyze protests around the country
Recent Examples on the Web List was working with huge enzymes that catalyze reactions in the human body. Josh Fischman, Scientific American, 6 Oct. 2021 But on that fateful day in 2003, when @Jason_Pike skipped a lunch that did not include him, his beloved Bengals drafted a player No. 1 overall who would catalyze the team, the fan base and the woman who would become his wife. Mike Bass, The Enquirer, 3 Sep. 2021 Charter serves as a guide and vital partner to the people who want to take best advantage of this opportunity to catalyze change. Time, 28 Sep. 2021 Behind the scenes, bigger political conversations are happening about how rent assistance could be improved and potentially catalyze other social services reforms. Taylor Kate Brown, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Aug. 2021 The end of Roe might catalyze a feminist juggernaut, but the continuance of Roe might depress turnout among social conservatives. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 4 Sep. 2021 Spending can catalyze markets for electric vehicles and renewable energy, but that is a far cry from the kind of regulations needed to set firm targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 16 June 2021 Science for Minds is a new initiative bringing together the three pillars of science, innovation and society to catalyze the development of novel therapeutics for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disease worldwide. Husseini Manji, Scientific American, 14 Sep. 2021 This kind of sharing tends to catalyze community because people see where their talents fit and where their contributions can matter to others. Tracy Brower, Forbes, 29 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'catalyze.' 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 catalyze

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for catalyze

see catalysis

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Time Traveler for catalyze

Time Traveler

The first known use of catalyze was in 1890

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Dictionary Entries Near catalyze

catalytic cracking



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Statistics for catalyze

Last Updated

24 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Catalyze.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for catalyze


transitive verb
variants: or British catalyse \ ˈkat-​ᵊl-​ˌīz How to pronounce catalyze (audio) \
catalyzed or British catalysed; catalyzing or British catalysing

Medical Definition of catalyze

: to bring about the catalysis of (a chemical reaction)

Other Words from catalyze

catalyzer or British catalyser noun


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