reg·​u·​late | \ ˈre-gyə-ˌlāt also ˈrā- How to pronounce regulate (audio) \
regulated; regulating

Definition of regulate

transitive verb

1a : to govern or direct according to rule
b(1) : to bring under the control of law or constituted authority
(2) : to make regulations for or concerning regulate the industries of a country
2 : to bring order, method, or uniformity to regulate one's habits
3 : to fix or adjust the time, amount, degree, or rate of regulate the pressure of a tire

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Other Words from regulate

regulative \ ˈre-​gyə-​ˌlā-​tiv How to pronounce regulative (audio) also  ˈrā-​ \ adjective
regulatory \ ˈre-​gyə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce regulatory (audio) also  ˈrā-​ \ adjective

Examples of regulate in a Sentence

The dam regulates the flow of water into the river. We need better laws to regulate the content of the Internet. Laws have been made to regulate working conditions. The government regulates how much lead may be found in our water supply. The department regulates foreign trade.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But under a 1995 state law, local governments have been prohibited from regulating the rent on vacant units, single-family homes and apartments built after that year. Conor Dougherty, New York Times, "California Rent Control Bill Advances, Fueled by Housing Crisis," 10 Sep. 2019 An essential part of the planet’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases, the Amazon fires have burned at an alarming rate. Johnny Simon, Quartz, "These aerial photos show the destruction of the Amazon fires," 30 Aug. 2019 In recent years, state lawmakers have blocked cities from banning trans fats, from running red-light cameras, from setting their own minimum wage, from collecting business taxes and from regulating oil and gas drilling. Andrew J. Tobias,, "Two developments this week seen as state government assault on Ohio cities," 29 Aug. 2019 Council members also will have to navigate a 1993 law that may restrict local governments from regulating plastics. Andrew Kenney, The Denver Post, "Denver council members will propose plastic bag ban," 19 Aug. 2019 Due to federal [laws], cities are largely prohibited from regulating consent tows. Christopher Harress |, al, "Could ‘illegal’ Mobile city law derail towing probe?," 4 Aug. 2019 Henneke said the new law also violates state law prohibiting cities from regulating wages. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Two companies sue Dallas in bid to stop paid sick time ordinance," 30 July 2019 The Constitution, federal laws and court decisions prevent local governments from regulating interstate commerce and carriers such as UPS and FedEx. Jen Thomas,, "Bay Briefing: What we know about the Gilroy shooting so far," 29 July 2019 Rhode Island joins growing efforts among states to protect those who take out student loans, though the Trump administration has discouraged states from regulating student loan servicers. Jennifer Mcdermott,, "Rhode Island sets new standards for student loan servicing," 26 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'regulate.' 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 regulate

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for regulate

Middle English, from Late Latin regulatus, past participle of regulare, from Latin regula rule

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Statistics for regulate

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for regulate

The first known use of regulate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for regulate



English Language Learners Definition of regulate

: to set or adjust the amount, degree, or rate of (something)
: to bring (something) under the control of authority
: to make rules or laws that control (something)


reg·​u·​late | \ ˈre-gyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce regulate (audio) \
regulated; regulating

Kids Definition of regulate

1 : to bring under the control of authority : make rules concerning Laws regulate water quality.
2 : to control the time, amount, degree, or rate of The dam regulates water flow.
3 : to bring order or method to The program is regulated well.

Other Words from regulate

regulator \ -​ˌlā-​tər \ noun


transitive verb
reg·​u·​late | \ ˈreg-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce regulate (audio) \
regulated; regulating

Medical Definition of regulate

1 : to control or direct according to rule or law regulate the testing of experimental drugs
2 : to fix or adjust the time, amount, degree, or rate of

Other Words from regulate

regulatory \ -​lə-​ˌtōr-​ē, -​ˌtȯr-​ How to pronounce regulatory (audio) \ adjective

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transitive verb
regulated; regulating

Legal Definition of regulate

1 : to govern or direct according to rule
2a : to bring under the control of law
b : to make regulations for or concerning

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More from Merriam-Webster on regulate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with regulate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for regulate

Spanish Central: Translation of regulate

Nglish: Translation of regulate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of regulate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on regulate

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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