re·​ac·​ti·​vate | \ (ˌ)rē-ˈak-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce reactivate (audio) \
reactivated; reactivating; reactivates

Definition of reactivate

1 transitive : to activate (something or someone) again … turning the dough (gently folding it over onto itself between the first and second rises) reactivates the yeast without pressing out as much air.— Erika Bruce : such as
a(1) : to restore (an organized group such as a military unit) to an active state (as from a state of disorganization or deactivation)
(2) : to restore (an individual) to active duty He was reactivated after 9/11 and sent to Afghanistan for a year.— Pam Kragen
(3) : to cause (something such as an industrial plant, society, program, or commission) to function again after a suspension of activity Started in 1987 and reactivated two years ago, the Leadership Shelby County program takes the participants through the process of developing and launching efforts to improve the community.— John Walker
b psychology : to cause (something such as a repressed complex) to reappear in consciousness or behavior Feelings of inferiority were reactivated by the experience.
c medical : to cause (a quiescent disease) to become active again tuberculosis that was reactivated by fatigue
2 intransitive : to become active again … a painful nerve and skin disorder that occurs when the immune system weakens in older people and the virus, which never entirely leaves the body, reactivates.— Alison L. Sprout

First Known Use of reactivate

1854, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About reactivate

Time Traveler for reactivate

Time Traveler

The first known use of reactivate was in 1854

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near reactivate

reaction wood



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for reactivate

Cite this Entry

“Reactivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for reactivate



English Language Learners Definition of reactivate

: to cause (something) to start working or happening again : to activate (something) again


transitive verb
re·​ac·​ti·​vate | \ (ˈ)rē-ˈak-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce reactivate (audio) \
reactivated; reactivating

Medical Definition of reactivate

: to activate again : cause to be again active or more active: as
a : to cause (as a repressed complex) to reappear in consciousness or behavior persecution feelings reactivated by new social failures
b : to cause (a quiescent disease) to become active again in an individual a herpes infection reactivated by physical and emotional stresses
c : to restore complement to (an inactivated serum) by addition of fresh normal serum

More from Merriam-Webster on reactivate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reactivate

Nglish: Translation of reactivate for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!