sal·​i·​vate | \ ˈsa-lə-ˌvāt How to pronounce salivate (audio) \
salivated; salivating

Definition of salivate

intransitive verb

1 : to have a flow of saliva especially in excess
2 : to show great desire or anticipation : drool

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Other Words from salivate

salivation \ ˌsa-​lə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce salivate (audio) \ noun
salivator \ ˈsa-​lə-​ˌvā-​tər How to pronounce salivate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for salivate


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Examples of salivate in a Sentence

The smell alone was enough to make me salivate. She was salivating at the prospect of traveling to Europe.
Recent Examples on the Web While there are plenty of weather enthusiasts who salivate over a tornado watch, not everyone is thrilled by the prospect of huge tornadoes churning away on the horizon. Dennis Mersereau, Forbes, "The Lasting, Unseen Damage Of Historic Tornado Outbreaks," 28 Apr. 2021 Advertisers salivate at the idea of inserting commercials into your favorite Netflix shows, but Netflix would never consider it when its stock is riding so high on subscriptions alone. New York Times, "In the Roaring Twenties, Ads Make a Comeback," 18 Apr. 2021 Or salivate over New York cheesecake in our list of the world's best desserts. CNN, "Travel to New York City during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go," 15 Apr. 2021 Rousseau was measured out to have an 83 1/4-inch wingspan and 11-inch hands, which will make NFL general managers and scouts salivate for his ability to keep blockers off of him and get his hand up to bat balls down. David Furones,, "Which Hurricanes DE will go first in NFL draft? Making the case for Gregory Rousseau, Jaelan Phillips," 3 Apr. 2021 Dylan is the kind of writer whose work music publishers tend to salivate over. New York Times, "Bob Dylan Sells His Songwriting Catalog in Blockbuster Deal," 7 Dec. 2020 Mayfield features the athletic ability and size combo that makes offensive line coaches salivate. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2021 NFL Mock Draft: Two rounds!," 31 Dec. 2020 Eleven long months of anticipation and thirst from Beavers fans, who couldn’t help but salivate at the idea of the highly-touted wide receiver joining the latest phase of coach Jonathan Smith’s rebuild. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "In another heartbreaking Oregon State loss, transfer Tre’Shaun Harrison makes encouraging Beavers debut," 13 Dec. 2020 The good grades from rigorous high schools and high test scores that make admissions officers salivate often result from the kind of parental attention that is generally easier for the affluent. Ron Lieber, New York Times, "How to Predict Merit Aid in a Strange College Application Season," 25 Sep. 2020

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

circa 1706, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for salivate

Time Traveler

The first known use of salivate was circa 1706

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Statistics for salivate

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Salivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for salivate



English Language Learners Definition of salivate

: to have a lot of saliva produced in your mouth because you see or smell food that you want to eat
: to have great interest in or desire for something


sal·​i·​vate | \ ˈsa-lə-ˌvāt \
salivated; salivating

Kids Definition of salivate

: to produce or secrete saliva especially in large amounts


sal·​i·​vate | \ ˈsal-ə-ˌvāt How to pronounce salivate (audio) \
salivated; salivating

Medical Definition of salivate

transitive verb

: to produce an abnormal flow of saliva in (as by the use of mercury)

intransitive verb

: to have a flow of saliva especially in excess

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Comments on salivate

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