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 These images forced an otherwise disengaged public to reckon with the brutality of racial segregation and helped catalyze the civil rights movement. Elissaveta M. Brandon, Smithsonian Magazine, "Eleven Historic Places in America That Desperately Need Saving," 28 Sep. 2020 Sobering realities about your income, material resources, and your own sense of merit may catalyze you today to reflect upon your goals and aspirations in a critical and detached way. Tarot Astrologers,, "Daily horoscope for September 23, 2020," 23 Sep. 2020 By succeeding without dismissing diversity or the environment as lofty ideals, Hamilton believes that the tech industry can catalyze the change already happening around the country. Sidney Fussell, Wired, "Arlan Hamilton and Katie Rae Say Tech Can Do Well—and Do Good," 23 Sep. 2020 Equipped with flexible access to liquidity and the right set of financial tools, these individuals can transcend poverty and catalyze global economic growth at the community level. Rachel King, Fortune, "Book recommendations from Fortune’s 40 under 40 in finance," 8 Sep. 2020 There is an idealistic carpenter who pursues a law degree in his 50s to represent miners afflicted with black lung disease, and a crusading doctor whose groundbreaking research helped catalyze a movement that won benefits for thousands of miners. Chris Serres, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Soul Full of Coal Dust,' by Chris Hamby," 14 Aug. 2020 As an investor, having a clear vision of the future helps one decide what trends will catalyze, accelerate or impede a company’s results, according to Preston. Emily Chasan,, "ESG Scores Aren’t Enough to Achieve a Net-Zero Future," 1 Sep. 2020 The team hopes red mud could become a source of both the extra iron added to their cements and the alkaline compounds needed to catalyze the hardening reactions. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Red mud is piling up. Can scientists figure out what to do with it?," 20 Aug. 2020 The group’s volunteer work helped catalyze a 2018 law that promotes investment in the protection of historic Black cemeteries—a law that came after decades of pressure from McEachin, who learned his own great-great-grandfather is buried in East End. Austyn Gaffney, National Geographic, "The fight to save America’s historic Black cemeteries," 19 Aug. 2020

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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Statistics for catalyze

Last Updated

11 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Catalyze.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for catalyze

variants: or British catalyse \ ˈkat-​ᵊl-​ˌīz How to pronounce catalyse (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

More from Merriam-Webster on catalyze

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for catalyze

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