reg·​u·​late | \ ˈre-gyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce regulate (audio) also ˈrā- \
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 regulate (audio) also  ˈrā-​ \ adjective
regulatory \ ˈre-​gyə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce regulate (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 The legislation will create the Office of Cannabis Management that will regulate the sale and distribution of both recreational and medical marijuana, which was legalized in 2014. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, "New York state leaders agree to legalize recreational marijuana," 28 Mar. 2021 Most of the health benefits are found in the peel, but the fruit contains plenty of soluble fiber, water, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that regulate the immune system. Angela Watson,, "Foods that boost the immune system," 27 Mar. 2021 Rob Simmelkjaer, chairman of the Connecticut Lottery Corp., said officials must identify the agency that will regulate the new gambling. Stephen Singer,, "Online sports betting in Connecticut could start in time for NFL kick-off in September," 22 Mar. 2021 The team also found mutations in genes that regulate sleep patterns, which could explain why giraffes in the wild only sleep 40 minutes per day and about 3 to 5 minutes at a time. Sofia Moutinho, Science | AAAS, "Giraffe genome holds keys to its peculiar body—and clues to hypertension treatments," 17 Mar. 2021 Interleukins are a group of cytokines that regulate the immune and inflammatory responses. Nina Shapiro, Forbes, "Asthma Biologic May Reduce Severe Attacks By More Than 50%," 1 Mar. 2021 The House voted 95-to-38 to override a veto issued last year by Gov. Larry Hogan, who objected to the board, which is designed to function like rate-setting boards that regulate what public utilities can charge residents. Ed Silverman, STAT, "With a legislative vote, Maryland’s prescription drug affordability board moves forward," 12 Feb. 2021 The state of Alaska wants to change the rules that regulate water in salmon streams. Anchorage Daily News, "One Alaska king salmon is worth the same as two barrels of oil right now," 9 Feb. 2021 For example, a boost in heat might tell proteins to fold or unfold, drive certain enzymatic reactions or provide feedback to channels that regulate calcium levels in muscles. Alla Katsnelson, Scientific American, "Mysterious Heat Spikes inside Cells Are Probed with Tiny Diamonds," 15 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for regulate

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for regulate

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Regulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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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 regulate (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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