re·​ac·​ti·​vate | \(ˌ)rē-ˈak-tə-ˌvāt \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reactivate

Share reactivate

Statistics for reactivate

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reactivate

The first known use of reactivate was in 1854

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for reactivate


transitive verb
re·​ac·​ti·​vate | \(ˈ)rē-ˈak-tə-ˌvāt \
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

Spanish Central: Translation of reactivate

Nglish: Translation of reactivate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on reactivate

What made you want to look up reactivate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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