in·​ner·​vate i-ˈnər-ˌvāt How to pronounce innervate (audio) ˈi-(ˌ)nər- How to pronounce innervate (audio)
innervated; innervating

transitive verb

: to supply with nerves
innervation noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The SetPoint implant is inserted beside the patient’s vagus nerve, which travels down from the brain to innervate the spleen and other vital organs. IEEE Spectrum, 26 Dec. 2022 For centuries, fad diets have preyed on those who've been brutalized by feminine beauty standards, and Johnson is breaking tradition with an ascetic set of rules designed to innervate a more masculine insecurity. Luke Winkie, Bon Appétit, 31 Aug. 2022 The mandibular nerve passes through this opening to innervate the teeth, gums and chin. David W. Frayer, Scientific American, 1 Feb. 2022 Different bundles innervate different muscle groups, allowing the potential for fairly precise control. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 8 Feb. 2022 Instead of balling up, the nerves innervated the muscle tissue, which greatly amplified their electrical signal. Matt Simon, Wired, 4 Mar. 2020 Based on experiments in rodents, Moskowitz believes CSD can trigger migraines by irritating a network of neurons, the trigeminovascular system, which innervates cerebral blood vessels. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, 18 May 2018 There, nerves that once commanded her hand and forearm—remnants of her amputation—now innervate her biceps and triceps muscles. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, 14 Mar. 2018 Every digital experience can and should be controlled by the neurons which deliver the output of your thoughts, those neurons which directly innervate your muscles. Tim O'reilly, The Atlantic, 27 Oct. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'innervate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1870, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of innervate was in 1870

Dictionary Entries Near innervate

Cite this Entry

“Innervate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition


transitive verb
in·​ner·​vate in-ˈər-ˌvāt, ˈin-(ˌ)ər- How to pronounce innervate (audio)
innervated; innervating
: to supply with nerves
: to arouse or stimulate (a nerve or an organ) to activity

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