mil·​i·​tate | \ ˈmi-lə-ˌtāt How to pronounce militate (audio) \
militated; militating

Definition of militate

intransitive verb

: to have weight or effect his boyish appearance militated against his getting an early promotion

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Mitigate vs. Militate: Usage Guide

Mitigate is sometimes used as an intransitive (followed by against) where militate might be expected. Even though Faulkner used it some intangible and invisible social force that mitigates against him — William Faulkner and one critic thinks it should be called an American idiom, it is usually considered a mistake.

Examples of militate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And a crucial aspect of his world view militates against monopolistic power. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Nietzsche’s Eternal Return," 7 Oct. 2019 The work of every serious social scientist militated against it. Zadie Smith, The New Yorker, "Darryl Pinckney’s Intimate Study of Black History," 26 Nov. 2019 This militates against the build-up of external debts and internal pressures. The Economist, "The deep appeal of emerging markets is their lack of surface appeal," 26 Oct. 2019 The city council has long militated for a standard design, rather than having each new station designed from scratch. al, "Mobile firefighters start demolition on their own station," 14 Aug. 2019 The long-term trends among Democrats also militate against a deal. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "What’s Next for the GOP on Immigration?," 12 Sep. 2019 One argument militating against this notion: the ouster of Dominic Thiem. Jon Wertheim,, "Federer, Serena, Nadal Avoid Upset Bug as Order Restored on Wimbledon Day 2," 2 July 2019 Tehran’s growing influence in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and its intention to possess missiles that could reach the U.S., raises new alarms that militate in favor of a public Saudi-Israeli embrace. Karen Elliott House, WSJ, "Will Netanyahu Go to Riyadh?," 6 Jan. 2019 But the whole string of errors embodied in these warrant applications militates against applying the good-faith exception. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Judge slams FBI for improper cellphone search, stingray use," 18 July 2018

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

1598, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for militate

Latin militatus, past participle of militare to engage in warfare, from milit-, miles

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Time Traveler for militate

Time Traveler

The first known use of militate was in 1598

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Statistics for militate

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Militate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on militate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with militate

Comments on militate

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to express in a more acceptable way

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