fa·​cil·​i·​tate fə-ˈsi-lə-ˌtāt How to pronounce facilitate (audio)
facilitated; facilitating; facilitates

transitive verb

: to make (something) easier
programs that facilitate access to health care
: such as
: to help bring (something) about
His campaign emphasized a variety of ways the federal government could help facilitate economic growth …Mead Gruver
Over the past two decades, the city has explored and made attempts to facilitate development of affordable housing on city-owned lots downtown.Ryan Stanton
: to help (something, such as a discussion) run more smoothly and effectively
The meeting included the full accountability team formed by the university, and the university facilitated the meeting, … sharing progress on initiatives underway …Kayla Lasure
facilitative adjective

Did you know?

English isn’t always easy, but the origin of facilitate is nothing but: the word traces back to the Latin adjective facilis, meaning "easy." Other descendants of facilis in English include facile ("easy to do"), facility ("the quality of being easily performed"), faculty ("ability"), and difficult (from dis- plus facilis, which equals "not easy"). English isn’t the only Latin-influenced language that has facilis to thank for "easy" words: the word for "easy" is fácil in both Spanish and Portuguese, and facile in both Italian and French. The way that facilitating something makes it "easy" (or "easier," as it were) can be likened to paving a road to make traveling to one’s destination smoother. Similarly, when we say, for example, that applying a healthy layer of mulch around the base of a newly planted tree facilitates robust growth, we mean that it (figuratively) paves the way for, or brings about, the sapling’s success.

Examples of facilitate in a Sentence

The strength of the inner identities that black women forged and nurtured during slavery facilitated the transition to freedom. Darlene Clark Hine, Lure and Loathing, 1993
What physical events might have facilitated the evolution of macroscopic animals? Andrew H. Knoll, Scientific American, October 1991
Nothing so facilitates writing as actually having something to say, yet the conditions under which, and the tools with which, writing is done can contribute to facility—or to difficulty. Joseph Epstein, The Middle of My Tether, 1983
Cutting taxes may facilitate economic recovery. Her rise to power was facilitated by her influential friends. The moderator's role is to facilitate the discussion by asking appropriate questions. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Global Evolution Of Tax Tech As global regulations continue to evolve, tax technology will facilitate seamless cross-border compliance. David Marley, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 The education environment should facilitate an environment that awards merit and equality and that does not focus on our differences. Charlotte Observer, 29 Feb. 2024 Prosecutors alleged that the bodega stole about $60 and facilitated the misuse of $214 in SNAP benefits. USA TODAY, 28 Feb. 2024 The soaring ceiling in the great room pulls warm air and humidity up to the rafters, and the house was built to facilitate cross-breezes in the communal spaces. Emma Reynolds, Robb Report, 28 Feb. 2024 Those representatives stand ready and willing to facilitate participation. Desirée Leclercq, Fortune, 28 Feb. 2024 This week, competition is scheduled for Thursday and Saturday — earlier than usual in order to facilitate travel to Las Vegas next week for the Pac-12 Tournament. Jeff Metcalfe, The Mercury News, 28 Feb. 2024 But his administration has so far rejected calls for a permanent cease-fire while pushing for a temporary pause in fighting to facilitate the release of hostages. Detroit Free Press, 28 Feb. 2024 This January, the EU entered the fray by sanctioning six Sudanese companies for their roles in facilitating corruption and conflict in Sudan. John Prendergast, Foreign Affairs, 27 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History


probably from Middle French faciliter "to make easy" (borrowed from Italian facilitare, verbal derivative of facilità facility) + -ate entry 4

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of facilitate was in 1599


Dictionary Entries Near facilitate

Cite this Entry

“Facilitate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/facilitate. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


fa·​cil·​i·​tate fə-ˈsil-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce facilitate (audio)
facilitated; facilitating
: to make easier

Medical Definition


transitive verb
fa·​cil·​i·​tate fə-ˈsil-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce facilitate (audio)
facilitated; facilitating
: to increase the likelihood, strength, or effectiveness of (as behavior or a response)
reflexes can be facilitated or inhibited
also : to lower the threshold for transmission of (an impulse)

Legal Definition


transitive verb
fa·​cil·​i·​tate fə-ˈsi-lə-ˌtāt How to pronounce facilitate (audio)
facilitated; facilitating
: to make easier : help bring about
a vehicle used to facilitate commission of the offense
facilitation noun

More from Merriam-Webster on facilitate

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