galvanize

verb
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 galvanization (audio) \ noun
galvanizer \ ˈgal-​və-​ˌnī-​zər How to pronounce galvanizer (audio) \ noun

The Scientific Origins of Galvanize

Luigi Galvani was an Italian physician and physicist who, in the 1770s, studied the electrical nature of nerve impulses by applying electrical stimulation to frogs' leg muscles, causing them to contract. Although Galvani's theory that animal tissue contained an innate electrical impulse was disproven, the Italian word galvanismo came to describe a current of electricity especially when produced by chemical action. English speakers borrowed the word as galvanism around 1797; the verb galvanize appeared a few years later, in the early 19th century. Charlotte Brontë used the verb figuratively in her 1853 novel Villette: "Her approach always galvanized him to new and spasmodic life." These days, galvanize also means to cover metal with zinc or a zinc alloy to protect it from rust (as in galvanized carpentry nails).

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

Native youth were galvanized by the birth of the Red Power movement. Ruth Hopkins, Teen Vogue, "How Alcatraz Island Was Reclaimed by Native Peoples," 7 Mar. 2019 Women, some galvanized by the election of President Donald Trump, are taking political power in unprecedented numbers and in new ways, opening up about the experiences that have shaped them in ways their male colleagues can’t match. Anna North, Vox, "Women made historic gains in 2018. But in so many ways, it was still the Year of the Man.," 27 Dec. 2018 Prager’s work is often galvanized with some difficult-to-define electricity, an energy built from the inherent conflicts contained within it. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Alex Prager Wants to Make You Look Twice," 22 Oct. 2018 And, from a raw political calculus, Trump and the GOP also get a boost heading into the midterm elections from a conservative voter base that will be galvanized anew by a polarizing Supreme Court confirmation battle. Liz Goodwin, BostonGlobe.com, "Kennedy’s retirement gives Trump another chance to make long-term impact," 28 June 2018 Democrats in particular, and women especially, have been galvanized by their antipathy toward President Trump and their belief that the party has a shot at taking back the House. New York Times, "What Is That Crowd? It’s the Field of Candidates. Now Pick One.," 1 June 2018 Christmas villages are getting a rustic, countrified makeover now that galvanized metal versions are popping up at retailers. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "This Rustic Galvanized Christmas Village Is Going to Be the Year's Hottest Holiday Collectible," 5 Dec. 2018 The men were among four sentenced to death for an attack that galvanized India, where widespread violence against women had long been quietly accepted. Fox News, "India court rejects death sentence appeal in 2012 gang rape," 10 July 2018 There may be just a lack of a centralized leadership within the tech industry that can galvanize and bring all the leaders together. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Charlotte and Dave Willner, plus Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky on Recode Decode," 9 July 2018

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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Statistics for galvanize

Last Updated

16 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for galvanize

The first known use of galvanize was in 1802

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More Definitions for galvanize

galvanize

verb

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

galvanize

verb
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.

galvanize

transitive verb
gal·​va·​nize
variants: or British galvanise \ ˈgal-​və-​ˌnīz How to pronounce galvanise (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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