gen·​er·​ate | \ ˈje-nə-ˌrāt How to pronounce generate (audio) \
generated; generating

Definition of generate

transitive verb

1 : to bring into existence: such as
b : to originate by a vital, chemical, or physical process : produce generate electricity
2 : to be the cause of (a situation, action, or state of mind) these stories … generate a good deal of psychological suspenseAtlantic
3 : to define or originate (something, such as a mathematical or linguistic set or structure) by the application of one or more rules or operations especially : to trace out (something, such as a curve) by a moving point or to trace out (a surface) by a moving curve

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Examples of generate in a Sentence

windmills used to generate electricity This business should generate a lot of revenue. We hope to generate some new ideas at the meeting. His theories have generated a great deal of interest among other scientists. Her comments have generated a good deal of excitement. They have been unable to generate much support for their proposals.
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Recent Examples on the Web

More troublesome for Steyer’s public image is the fund’s history of investing in fossil fuel projects, including a giant coal mine in Australia that generates vast quantities of carbon emissions. Seema Mehta,, "Tom Steyer’s bets on private prisons and coal mining could spell trouble in 2020," 11 July 2019 Young recently announced that a development group was marketing three tracts of land in the northern part of the county for solar farms that could generate about 600 megawatts of electricity. Mark Dent, WIRED, "The Hard-Luck Texas Town That Bet on Bitcoin—and Lost," 11 July 2019 Superintendent Michael Beresford said that would generate about $5 million per year over the referendum's eight years, for a total of around $40 million. Emma Kate Fittes, Indianapolis Star, "Why Carmel Schools says it needs a safety referendum," 10 July 2019 The system that could generate the depression was over the eastern Florida Panhandle as of early Tuesday. Leigh Morgan,, "Gulf could have a tropical depression as soon as Wednesday, forecasters say," 9 July 2019 Deutsche Bank plans to eliminate its equity sales and trading division, a unit that generated nearly $2.2 billion in revenue last year. Jack Ewing,, "Deutsche Bank layoffs begin as turnaround plan kicks in," 8 July 2019 For instance, roads and transport infrastructure, which are known to have strong linkage effects that generate investment and growth over time, have been focus areas of the Modi regime. Jayati Ghosh, Quartz India, "“Investment” was mentioned over 30 times in India’s budget speech—but where will it come from?," 8 July 2019 The heart is spinning 30 times per second and producing a magnetic field that generates 1 trillion volts, NASA said. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Hubble spies a spiral galaxy blooming like roses 70 million light-years away," 8 July 2019 In New York, plants that generate less than 1 megawatt are currently unable to participate in wholesale markets because of their size. Washington Post, "Think globally, power locally: Hydro plants serve neighbors," 8 July 2019

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

1509, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for generate

Latin generatus, past participle of generare, from gener-, genus descent, birth — more at kin

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Statistics for generate

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for generate

The first known use of generate was in 1509

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More Definitions for generate



English Language Learners Definition of generate

: to produce (something) or cause (something) to be produced
: to be the cause of or reason for (something, such as interest or excitement)


gen·​er·​ate | \ ˈje-nə-ˌrāt How to pronounce generate (audio) \
generated; generating

Kids Definition of generate

: to cause to come into being Windmills can generate electricity. Her comments have generated excitement.


gen·​er·​ate | \ ˈjen-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce generate (audio) \
generated; generating

Medical Definition of generate

transitive verb

: to bring into existence especially : procreate generate innumerable offspring

intransitive verb

: to produce offspring : propagate

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More from Merriam-Webster on generate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with generate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for generate

Spanish Central: Translation of generate

Nglish: Translation of generate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of generate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on generate

What made you want to look up generate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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