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 Los Angeles Democrat and SEIU-UHW member has called for improved staffing ratios at dialysis clinics and has voted repeatedly to regulate them. Samantha Young California Healthline, Los Angeles Times, "With ‘a lot to lose,’ dialysis firms spend big, become California power players," 9 Dec. 2020 The region wants to regulate them as part of a broader push to become climate neutral by 2050. Laura Millan Lombrana,, "The Shipping Industry Transformed 100 Years Ago. It Can Do it Again," 16 Nov. 2020 One way to try to prevent a future crisis is to tightly regulate them, but regulators don’t always know what’s best or they get captured by the industry. Robert Stein, National Review, "A New Agenda for the GOP," 15 Nov. 2020 The key debate remains where should it be permitted and who should regulate it. Jessie Balmert, The Enquirer, "How FBI agents posed as Cincinnati hotel developers to catch suspects in 2 Ohio bribery scandals," 10 Nov. 2020 Your period should be able to regulate itself after a few cycles, according to Dr. Minkin. Elizabeth Gulino,, "You Can Thank The Election For Your Chaotic Period," 30 Oct. 2020 The ruling led to EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases and granted the agency its authority to regulate them. Jennifer Hijazi, Scientific American, "Supreme Court Nominee Barrett Resisted Climate Science, But Other Judges Have Embraced It," 16 Oct. 2020 Still, the inquiries sparked debate among city officials over whether an ordinance was needed to regulate them. NBC News, "This small town's battle over gay Pride flags is helping fuel a national debate," 14 Oct. 2020 The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has unveiled two bills that aim to regulate, reshape, and rein in the power of big technology platforms, particularly the U.S. giants including Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon. Scott Roxborough, Billboard, "European Union Unveils Bills Targeting Big Tech Companies," 16 Dec. 2020

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

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Regulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for regulate


How to pronounce regulate (audio)

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
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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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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Comments on regulate

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