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 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, "Replacing Justice Ginsburg: Politics, Not Precedent," 19 Sep. 2020 While mitigate has an undercurrent of facilitation, militate is more of a suppressive, authoritarian thing. Arunabh Saikia, Quartz India, "Community participation—not lockdowns—is key to fighting coronavirus in 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, "We Should Deescalate the War on the Coronavirus," 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, "How the Kennedy Center’s theater chief sniffs out Broadway-worthy winners," 4 Oct. 2019 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

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

Cite this Entry

“Militate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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