ex·​cit·​ato·​ry ik-ˈsī-tə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce excitatory (audio)
: exhibiting, resulting from, relating to, or producing excitement or excitation
excitatory nerve fibers

Examples of excitatory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Their job is to manage the timing and flow of brain signals and keep excitatory neurons under control. Lauren Aguirre, Scientific American, 22 July 2019 In effect, the network was turning the knobs on inhibitory processes, not excitatory ones, with the TRN inhibiting information that the prefrontal cortex deemed distracting. Quanta Magazine, 24 Sep. 2019 Patel notes that, because anxiety can be caused by too many excitatory neurotransmitters, GABA supplements may be the most helpful. Jenna Birch, Woman's Day, 30 Aug. 2019 Because the connections between inhibitory neurons are long-range, any inhibitory signals that randomly arise spread faster than random excitatory signals — exactly what’s needed for a Turing-like mechanism. Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Magazine, 30 July 2018 When excitatory neurons are firing to your left leg muscles, for example, inhibitory ones are firing to your right. Steph Yin, New York Times, 8 Feb. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'excitatory.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1803, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of excitatory was in 1803

Dictionary Entries Near excitatory

Cite this Entry

“Excitatory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/excitatory. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition


ex·​cit·​ato·​ry ik-ˈsīt-ə-ˌtōr-ē, -ˌtȯr- How to pronounce excitatory (audio)
: tending to induce excitation (as of a neuron)
excitatory substances
excitatory and inhibitory pathways from the brainW. G. Van der Kloot
: exhibiting, resulting from, related to, or produced by excitement or excitation
an excitatory postsynaptic potential
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