reg·​u·​late | \ˈre-gyə-ˌlāt 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 also ˈrā-​ \ adjective
regulatory \ˈre-​gyə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē 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

Canada’s constitution gives provinces broad authority to regulate natural resources, including levels of production. Vipal Monga, WSJ, "Canada’s Heavy Crude Prices Jump After Alberta Orders Production Cuts," 3 Dec. 2018 Microsoft also urged Congress to regulate the technology. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Facial recognition is becoming one of the 21st century’s biggest public space issues," 19 Oct. 2018 However, the president of the French Tennis Federation apparently wasn't a fan, and the Associate Press is reporting that the organization is adopting new measures to regulate players' outfits, which would effectively ban a catsuit like Williams'. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Serena Williams' Nike Catsuit Has Been Banned From the French Open," 24 Aug. 2018 In the wake of Cambridge Analytica, Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and other Facebook scandals, cries to regulate the tech giant have risen. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "If You Want To Fix Facebook, Tear Down Its Walls," 31 July 2018 Under the Constitution, the President may decline to enforce a statute that regulates private individuals when the President deems the statute unconstitutional, even if a court has held or would hold the statute constitutional. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh, the almost-certain next member of the Supreme Court, explained," 5 Oct. 2018 Combing massages all of the acupoints of the head, which regulates excitement and inhibition in of the cerebral cortex. Zoe Weiner, Allure, "Jade and Rose Quartz Combs Are The Latest Trend in Hair Care," 27 July 2018 That money is used to pay for the state bureau that regulates the medical marijuana industry. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan awards first medical marijuana licenses," 12 July 2018 Too much exposure to blue light at night suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles. Gina Tomaine, Good Housekeeping, "I Wore Blue Light Blocking Glasses Every Day for a Week — Here’s What I Learned," 11 July 2018

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

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for regulate

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

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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 \
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 \
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-​ \ 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

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