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

But there were other galvanizing factors that, though less discussed, were no less galling—indignities that have become increasingly familiar to workers across the country. Lena Solow, The New Republic, "The Scourge of Worker Wellness Programs," 2 Sep. 2019 All that can be said is that Maguire has not yet had the galvanizing effect on United that Virgil van Dijk, his predecessor as the world’s most expensive defender, had on Liverpool. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "A Deceiving Scoreline but Man United Exposes Chelsea's Defensive Flaws," 11 Aug. 2019 The murder of Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy who was brutally killed by two white men, became a galvanizing incident of the Civil Rights Movement. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Due to Repeated Vandalism, Emmett Till Memorial to Be Replaced with Bulletproof Sign," 30 July 2019 The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have sparked widespread, often galvanizing change, but in this venture, Darling and Currie forgo dwelling on past wounds or joining existing crusades. chicagotribune.com, "How rock veterans from Runaways, Fanny joined forces," 29 July 2019 The #MeToo and Times Up movements have sparked widespread, often galvanizing change, but in this venture, Darling and Currie forgo dwelling on past wounds or joining existing crusades. Katherine Turman, Los Angeles Times, "How two fearless rock pioneers survived the ’70s and found each other four decades later," 25 July 2019 Young people have been galvanized by climate science being taught in schools as well as a spreading global activist movement spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who started a wave of school walkouts to demand action. Oliver Milman, Teen Vogue, "Americans Finally See Climate Change as the Urgent Crisis It Is," 16 Sep. 2019 He was clearly galvanized by the experience, very happy to get back to work, very happy that it wasn’t being produced by Harvey Weinstein. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "James Gray’s Journey from the Outer Boroughs to Outer Space," 9 Sep. 2019 Jordan was galvanized by his brother’s talents, and Feleipe was consumed by his brother’s work ethic. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "The Franks Connection: How a Brothers' Bond Aided the Breakthrough Florida's QB Needed," 20 Aug. 2019

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

12 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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