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

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 There should be no zoning laws imposed, as has been done in other states, that, in a transparent attempt dictatorially to change the character of our suburbs, militate against single-family housing in favor of multifamily dwellings. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Oct. 2021 Melanin levels varied, but most of the citizens had applied thick white lotion to their bodies to militate against UV damage from the failing yet persistent sunshine of the late British summer of a very bad year. Hermione Hoby, Harper's Magazine, 22 June 2021 That would militate in favor of the president’s naming a strong judicial conservative and McConnell’s trying to move it across the goal line. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 19 Sep. 2020 While mitigate has an undercurrent of facilitation, militate is more of a suppressive, authoritarian thing. Arunabh Saikia, Quartz India, 23 Mar. 2020 New infectious diseases come out of the blue, each with its own idiosyncrasies that militate against detailed advance planning. Robert Dingwall, Wired, 29 Jan. 2020 Being both a national memorial and a vast entertainment complex — in addition to a home for other performing arts — militates against sleeker definition. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 4 Oct. 2019 And a crucial aspect of his world view militates against monopolistic power. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 7 Oct. 2019 The work of every serious social scientist militated against it. Zadie Smith, The New Yorker, 26 Nov. 2019 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of militate was in 1598

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Dictionary Entries Near militate

military time


militate against

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Cite this Entry

“Militate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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