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

Their presence catalyzed Chagrin Falls' turnaround from two tough losses at Streetsboro and Kenston, which are both 3-0. Matt Goul,, "Riverside meets Lima halfway in classy move: HS football quick hits," 16 Sep. 2019 Winning catalyzed that camaraderie, but because so many players came up through the minors together, the closeness of that team was organic and real. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Saunders: Reeling Rockies aren’t finger-pointing but frustration runs deep," 24 Aug. 2019 There’s no disputing how much Mack’s arrival catalyzed the Bears’ surprise breakthrough in 2018. Dan Wiederer,, "‘I’ve never coached an athlete like this’: A closer look at Leonard Floyd and the Bears edge rushers," 29 July 2019 The miners’ coal-train standoff in Harlan County, which came weeks after the bankruptcy, catalyzed attention from national politicians and news media. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "Miner victory: Approved bankruptcy sale restores some back pay, could re-open coal mines," 27 July 2019 The energy from the uprising catalyzed into the modern LGBTQ rights movement., "Alabama authorities shut down drag show on Stonewall anniversary, citing violation," 2 July 2019 His disappearance catalyzed a rescue effort that drew dozens of volunteers from across California — more than 70 people were searching for him in the mountains Saturday — until a helicopter crew found him in a canyon, Sgt. Claudia Harmata,, "Lost Hiker, 73, Found Alive After a Week Alone in Calif. Mountains: 'He Had Not Eaten in Days'," 30 June 2019 Dodge's death may open the book, but disinformation catalyzes it: a massive hoax that makes the world believe a nuclear detonation has wiped out the small town of Moab, Utah. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Neal Stephenson's Latest Book Dodges Its Scariest Premise," 4 June 2019 Some experts foresee a future in which knots might be woven together to form functional materials with heat-resistant or catalyzing properties. Quanta Magazine, "Scientists Learn the Ropes on Tying Molecular Knots," 29 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for catalyze

Last Updated

28 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for catalyze

The first known use of catalyze was in 1890

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More Definitions for catalyze


transitive verb
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with catalyze

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for catalyze

Comments on catalyze

What made you want to look up catalyze? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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