gal·​va·​nize | \ ˈgal-və-ˌnīz How to pronounce galvanize (audio) \
galvanized; galvanizing

Definition of galvanize

transitive verb

1a : to subject to the action of an electric current especially for the purpose of stimulating physiologically galvanize a muscle
b : to stimulate or excite as if by an electric shock an issue that would galvanize public opinion
2 : to coat (iron or steel) with zinc especially : to immerse in molten zinc to produce a coating of zinc-iron alloy

intransitive verb

: to react as if stimulated by an electric shock they galvanized into action

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Other Words from galvanize

galvanization \ ˌgal-​və-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce galvanize (audio) \ noun
galvanizer \ ˈgal-​və-​ˌnī-​zər How to pronounce galvanize (audio) \ noun

Examples of galvanize in a Sentence

The group is hoping to galvanize public opinion against the proposed law. The Web site has galvanized support for the project. a factory where steel is galvanized
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Recent Examples on the Web The shooting of the 12-year-old in 2014 helped to galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement. Nita Lelyveld, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: Settle in at home," 30 Dec. 2020 Henry Wallace helped galvanize rural political support for FDR’s New Deal. Matt Russell, Time, "Millions of Americans Face Food Insecurity. The Biden Administration Must Make Helping Them a Priority," 23 Dec. 2020 An icon of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress. Anchorage Daily News, "Final goodbye: Recalling influential people who died in 2020," 8 Dec. 2020 Their efforts would galvanize anti-slavery support throughout the nation by calling attention to judicial vice, jurisdictional infighting, and the ability of the federal government to sweep away a private citizen’s civil rights without a trial. Carrie Hagen, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Courageous Tale of Jane Johnson, Who Risked Her Freedom for Those Who Helped Her Escape Slavery," 16 Nov. 2020 Despite these instances of online activism, the Oath Keepers have managed to galvanize their far right supporters over the years. Sarah Midkiff,, "Who Are The Oath Keepers? This Pro-Trump Militia Claims To Be “Protecting” America," 9 Dec. 2020 Sakai said Coverson and her group of volunteers were able to galvanize the community and that those with the ability and means were able to contribute. Vincent T. Davis,, "Friends and volunteers carry on humanitarian work of late good Samaritan," 8 Dec. 2020 The president’s testimonial for McSally helped galvanize support for himself and McSally, experts said. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, The Arizona Republic, "Does appearing at Trump rallies help Martha McSally in Arizona's US Senate race?," 20 Oct. 2020 After hearing of the university’s intention to scrap the NCAA Division I hockey team amid budget concerns, Talbot took to social media to galvanize support and was doing multiple interviews a day to spread the word. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "Crowded free agent market concerned new Wild goalie Cam Talbot," 9 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'galvanize.' 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 galvanize

1802, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for galvanize

borrowed from French galvaniser, from Luigi galvani (who conducted pioneering experiments in bioelectricity) + -iser -ize

Note: See note at galvanism.

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Time Traveler for galvanize

Time Traveler

The first known use of galvanize was in 1802

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Galvanize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for galvanize


How to pronounce galvanize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of galvanize

: to cause (people) to become so excited or concerned about an issue, idea, etc., that they want to do something about it
: to cause (a force that is capable of causing change) to become active
technical : to cover (steel or iron) with a layer of zinc to prevent it from rusting


gal·​va·​nize | \ ˈgal-və-ˌnīz How to pronounce galvanize (audio) \
galvanized; galvanizing

Kids Definition of galvanize

1 : to excite about something so that action is taken Increasing litter galvanized children to clean up the park.
2 : to coat with zinc for protection The steel was galvanized to prevent it from rusting.


transitive verb
variants: or British galvanise \ ˈgal-​və-​ˌnīz How to pronounce galvanize (audio) \
galvanized or British galvanised; galvanizing or British galvanising

Medical Definition of galvanize

: to subject to the action of an electric current especially for the purpose of stimulating physiologically galvanize a muscle

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