de·​ac·​ti·​vate | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈak-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce deactivate (audio) \
deactivated; deactivating; deactivates

Definition of deactivate

transitive verb

: to make inactive or ineffective deactivate a bomb deactivate a chemical compound

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from deactivate

deactivation \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌak-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce deactivate (audio) \ noun
deactivator \ (ˌ)dē-​ˈak-​tə-​ˌvā-​tər How to pronounce deactivate (audio) \ noun

Examples of deactivate in a Sentence

deactivate the machine carefully, or you'll risk an electric shock
Recent Examples on the Web Elections officials will deactivate the voter registrations of those who do not respond to the mailings, as well as those whose notices are returned to them as undeliverable. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 29 Apr. 2021 Using a novel biomaterial, an experienced team of researchers and entrepreneurs developed the nasal spray formulation to capture and deactivate respiratory pathogens in the nasal cavity, thereby preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Nish Acharya, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2021 Once paramedics arrived, Potter ordered both of the officers to leave the house, sit in separate squad cars and deactivate their body cameras. Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2021 But cancer cells have many strategies to hide from T cells, fend them off, or deactivate them. Caroline Seydel, Forbes, 5 Apr. 2021 Oakland’s neighbors, firefighters see red over plan to deactivate engines, shutter stations. Taylor Kate Brown,, 19 Jan. 2021 Just don't forget to deactivate your car alarm before departure, or risk arriving with a dead battery. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, 4 Mar. 2021 Those with mutations that deactivate Nav1.7 feel no pain at all. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, 10 Mar. 2021 When a partner financial institution provides a loan to a customer who needs a vehicle for work, GMS installs a device that can remotely and safely deactivate and restart the engine. Forbes, 9 Mar. 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of deactivate

1926, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deactivate

Time Traveler for deactivate

Time Traveler

The first known use of deactivate was in 1926

See more words from the same year

Statistics for deactivate

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deactivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for deactivate



English Language Learners Definition of deactivate

: to make (something) no longer active or effective


transitive verb
de·​ac·​ti·​vate | \ (ˈ)dē-ˈak-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce deactivate (audio) \
deactivated; deactivating

Medical Definition of deactivate

1 : to make inactive or ineffective
2 : to deprive of chemical activity deactivate an enzyme

Other Words from deactivate

deactivation \ -​ˌak-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce deactivate (audio) \ noun


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!