galvanize

verb gal·va·nize \ ˈgal-və-ˌnīz \
Updated on: 6 Dec 2017

Definition of galvanize

galvanized; galvanizing
transitive verb
1 a : 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

galvanization

play \ˌgal-və-nə-ˈzā-shən\ noun

galvanizer

play \ˈgal-və-ˌnī-zər\ noun

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Examples of galvanize in a Sentence

  1. The group is hoping to galvanize public opinion against the proposed law.

  2. The Web site has galvanized support for the project.

  3. a factory where steel is galvanized

Recent Examples of galvanize from the Web

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.

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).

Origin and Etymology of galvanize

borrowed from French galvaniser, from Luigi galvani (who conducted pioneering experiments in bioelectricity) + -iser -ize
Note: See note at galvanism.


GALVANIZE Defined for English Language Learners

galvanize

verb

Definition of galvanize for English Language Learners

  • : 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

  • : to cover (steel or iron) with a layer of zinc to prevent it from rusting


GALVANIZE Defined for Kids

galvanize

verb gal·va·nize \ ˈgal-və-ˌnīz \

Definition of galvanize for Students

galvanized; galvanizing
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.

Medical Dictionary

galvanize

transitive verb gal·va·nize
variants: or British galvanise play \ˈgal-və-ˌnīz\

medical Definition of galvanize

galvanized or British galvanised; galvanizing or British galvanising
: to subject to the action of an electric current especially for the purpose of stimulating physiologically
  • galvanize a muscle


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