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

transitive verb

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

Example Sentences

a reinstitution of the draft would catalyze protests around the country
Recent Examples on the Web For the Nazi mystic Captain Blicero (father of the 00000), the rocket will catalyze humanity’s ascension to a higher realm of being. John Semley, WIRED, 16 Feb. 2023 Instead of developing only academics and scientists, government policies will have to catalyze the creation of a new breed of entrepreneurial and executive talent that can fill key roles in quantum businesses. Fortune, 2 Sep. 2022 Higgs points out that listing the species as threatened might catalyze such funding. Byerik Stokstad,, 23 Dec. 2022 In the current paper, Leigh’s team proposes that the shape-shifting reader molecules may be able to catalyze different chemical reactions depending on their shape. WIRED, 3 Nov. 2022 Sulfur helps to catalyze reactions, and phosphorus is a vital part of ATP — the energy currency of life. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 28 June 2016 These activities will catalyze that market through grants in basic technologies, investments in downstream processing, and training of mining and geology professionals. Azeem Azhar, WIRED, 17 Dec. 2022 What sort of crisis might catalyze progress in Congress? Dallas News, 18 July 2022 Business leaders who learn to use data as a powerful tool of persuasion will successfully unite and catalyze their teams around common goals. Nicholas Freund, Forbes, 10 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


see catalysis

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of catalyze was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near catalyze

Cite this Entry

“Catalyze.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


cat·​a·​lyze ˈkat-ᵊl-ˌīz How to pronounce catalyze (audio)
catalyzed; catalyzing
: to bring about or produce by chemical catalysis

Medical Definition


transitive verb
variants or British catalyse
catalyzed or British catalysed; catalyzing or British catalysing
: to bring about the catalysis of (a chemical reaction)
catalyzer noun
or British catalyser
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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