galvanize

verb
gal·va·nize | \ˈgal-və-ˌnīz \
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 \ noun
galvanizer \ˈgal-və-ˌnī-zər \ 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

The president is trying to use his star power to galvanize his base voters and stave off what history predicts should be losses for the president's party in off-year congressional elections. Philip Rucker, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump, stumping in Nevada, makes immigration a central midterms issue for GOP," 24 June 2018 Related The split concludes a whirlwind eight days that captivated the basketball world, galvanized Internet sleuths and plunged one of the league’s most promising franchises into tumult. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "Bryan Colangelo Resigns From 76ers After Twitter Scandal," 7 June 2018 The shooting in Florida - already one of several to take place at a school in 2018 - left 17 students and staff members dead, and galvanized a new generation of activists, including many teenagers from Parkland. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Facing boycott, Laura Ingraham apologizes for taunting Parkland teen over college rejections," 29 Mar. 2018 The shooting in Florida - already one of several to take place at a school in 2018 - left 17 students and staff members dead, and galvanized a new generation of activists, including many teenagers from Parkland. Amy B. Wang And Allyson Chiu, chicagotribune.com, "Facing ad boycott, Fox host Laura Ingraham apologizes for taunting Parkland teen over college rejections," 29 Mar. 2018 The experience galvanized them in different directions, and many continued to fight along with Stoneman Douglas parents at the state level for stricter gun laws. Emanuella Grinberg And Nadeem Muaddi, CNN, "How the Parkland students pulled off a massive national protest in only 5 weeks," 26 Mar. 2018 Cynthia Busch, chairwoman of the Broward Democratic Party, said people are galvanized and ready to act. Anthony Man, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Congressman Joe Kennedy declares 'our nation’s heart is with Broward County'," 4 Mar. 2018 That has galvanized liberal and conservative advocacy groups, who began mobilizing even before the nomination was announced and expect to spend tens of millions through the summer and into the fall. New York Times, "Senate Democrats Come Out Swinging in Long-Shot Fight to Block Kavanaugh," 10 July 2018 Such predictions have galvanized the Zero Waste movement, which a Northern California resident named Bea Johnson is often credited with founding in 2008. Victoria Adams Fogg, Washington Post, "She cut her weekly trash down so much it fits in an unbelievably small jar," 7 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

28 Sep 2018

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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

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

galvanize

verb
gal·va·nize | \ˈgal-və-ˌnīz \
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 \
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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Comments on galvanize

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