react

verb

re·​act rē-ˈakt How to pronounce react (audio)
reacted; reacting; reacts

intransitive verb

1
: to exert a reciprocal or counteracting force or influence
often used with on or upon
2
: to change in response to a stimulus
3
: to act in opposition to a force or influence
usually used with against
4
: to move or tend in a reverse direction
5
: to undergo chemical reaction

transitive verb

: to cause to react

Examples of react in a Sentence

When I told her what happened, she reacted with anger. I didn't expect him to react that way. The firefighters reacted quickly when they heard the alarm. He reacted badly to the drug.
Recent Examples on the Web Mary Cain reacts after breaking the high school girls' record during the women's two mile event at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix track meet in 2013. Issy Ronald, CNN, 15 Feb. 2024 These methods typically react after the fact, posing a risk of system contamination before any response is initiated. Kunle Fadeyi, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Despite being an object of the doctors’ desire and often appearing in various stages of undress, the nurse reacts to the at-times bizarre proceedings from a cool-eyed distance. Mark Schilling, Variety, 15 Feb. 2024 How have women in audiences reacted and how have younger men reacted? Jada Yuan, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 In a post-9/11 media environment that stifled dissenting voices—and at a time when many Americans were dismayed by the injustices committed in their name—Stewart reacted to the news the way a normal person might, freely expressing anger, exasperation, and disbelief. Inkoo Kang, The New Yorker, 13 Feb. 2024 Israel's Foreign Ministry did not react to the latest sanctions. Compiled Bydemocrat-Gazette Stafffrom Wire Reports, arkansasonline.com, 13 Feb. 2024 After a vegetarian lunch was served, videos were shown of a number of nominees reacting to the news of their noms several weeks ago, including American Fiction’s Sterling K. Brown, Barbie’s America Ferrera and Flamin’ Hot’s Diane Warren. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Feb. 2024 Apple’s headset also reacts to a user’s hand gestures and eye movements in an attempt to make the device seem like another piece of human physiology. Michael Liedtke, Fortune, 3 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'react.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

New Latin reactus, past participle of reagere, from Latin re- + agere to act — more at agent

First Known Use

1644, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of react was in 1644

Dictionary Entries Near react

Cite this Entry

“React.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/react. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

react

verb
re·​act rē-ˈakt How to pronounce react (audio)
1
: to act or behave in response (as to stimulation or an influence)
the colonists reacted to the tax by boycotting tea
2
: to oppose a force or influence
usually used with against
reacted against their unfair treatment
3
: to go through or cause to go through a chemical reaction

Medical Definition

react

intransitive verb
re·​act rē-ˈakt How to pronounce react (audio)
1
: to respond to a stimulus
2
: to undergo chemical reaction

transitive verb

: to cause to react

More from Merriam-Webster on react

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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