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

Mississippi does not have a state agency that regulates animal shelters. Lici Beveridge,, "Volunteers step up to help a struggling animal shelter," 13 Sep. 2019 Progressive Field upgrades: The Indians are asking taxpayers to replace what the team describes as an outdated and malfunctioning system that regulates lights, heating and cooling at Progressive Field. Cliff Pinckard,, "Kayaker dies after capsizing in Cuyahoga River: The Wake Up for Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019," 12 Sep. 2019 Ting’s plan would have required the state provide an uninterrupted funding source for the rebates, directing the Air Resources Board, the agency that regulates air pollution and climate initiatives, to find a steady funding source. Dustin Gardiner,, "California lawmakers kill plan to triple electric-vehicle rebates," 11 Sep. 2019 Like that weapon, some guns sold by unlicensed dealers ended up being used in crimes in states and cities that carefully regulate gun sales themselves but are helpless to stop this below-the-radar flow of weapons into the hands of local criminals. Drew Griffin, Amanda Katz, And Patricia Dicarlo, CNN, "Texas shooting highlights dangers of guns sold without background checks," 9 Sep. 2019 The triennial meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), an international treaty that regulates the trade of wild plants and animals, are among the most significant wildlife conferences in the world. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Wildlife Trade Conference Imposes Near-Total Ban on Sending Wild African Elephants to Zoos," 30 Aug. 2019 Warren, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, has proposed an approach backed by gun safety groups like Giffords that would regulate assault-style weapons in a fashion similar to machine guns, which are rarely associated with crime. Benjy Sarlin, NBC News, "As Trump waffles, some Democrats talk up mandatory gun buybacks, licensing," 24 Aug. 2019 Many of Florida’s salons, spas and chiropractors today use CBD made in other states that already regulate hemp, but some products may be from other countries. Marcia Heroux Pounds,, "CBD massages now offered by salons and chiropractors, but buyer beware," 23 Aug. 2019 Each is generated by abnormal activity in a distinct set of brain circuits that regulate mood and cognition. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "Brain scans could help personalize treatment for people who are depressed or suicidal," 20 Aug. 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

12 Oct 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).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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