mil·​i·​tate | \ˈmi-lə-ˌtāt \
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

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 So too in the Exodus story, did Moshe hit the rock after the Jews militated for water. Rabbi Avi Weiss, Jewish Journal, "The gift of opportunity is not limitless," 4 June 2018 Igo says, militate against greater privacy protections. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "Why Do We Care So Much About Privacy?," 22 Sep. 2014 Again, part of what makes this GOAT debate fun: the absence of rules, weighting requirements and points that militate for and against one candidate., "Mailbag: Petra Kvitova Is the Best Story in Tennis Right Now, and Maybe in All of Sports," 16 May 2018 The facts on the ground now militate against forcibly undoing the steps that have been taken,’’ arbitrator Joel Richler wrote., "Steve Wynn’s ex-wife said she told company lawyer about alleged rape of employee in 2009," 29 Mar. 2018 In the wrong hands, such technology could militate against fair and equal treatment. The Economist, "Two-facedThe sunny and the dark side of AI," 28 Mar. 2018 The scarcity of open slots — just eight or nine productions a season, compared with the dozens of concert weeks available in Davies — militates against a full-on parade of aspirants, as does the long lead time in operatic planning. Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF Opera, Symphony seek conductors who can carry musical vision into future," 14 Jan. 2018 Such distortions, often unknown even to the agencies involved, militate against an important element of democratic governance: the public’s ability to participate in federal rule-making. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The 10-Point.," 13 Dec. 2017

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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Statistics for militate

Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for militate

The first known use of militate was in 1598

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with militate

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