sim·​u·​late | \ˈsim-yə-ˌlāt \
simulated; simulating

Definition of simulate 

transitive verb

1 : to give or assume the appearance or effect of often with the intent to deceive : imitate

2 : to make a simulation of (something, such as a physical system)

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Other Words from simulate

simulative \ˈsim-​yə-​ˌlā-​tiv \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for simulate

assume, affect, pretend, simulate, feign, counterfeit, sham mean to put on a false or deceptive appearance. assume often implies a justifiable motive rather than an intent to deceive. assumed an air of cheerfulness around the patients affect implies making a false show of possessing, using, or feeling. affected an interest in art pretend implies an overt and sustained false appearance. pretended that nothing had happened simulate suggests a close imitation of the appearance of something. cosmetics that simulate a suntan feign implies more artful invention than pretend, less specific mimicry than simulate. feigned sickness counterfeit implies achieving the highest degree of verisimilitude of any of these words. an actor counterfeiting drunkenness sham implies an obvious falseness that fools only the gullible. shammed a most unconvincing limp

Did You Know?

The zircon, that favorite of home shopping channels, simulates a diamond—more or less. A skilled furrier can dye lower-grade furs to simulate real mink. A skilled actress can simulate a range of emotions from absolute joy to crushing despair. And an apparatus that simulates the hazards of driving while intoxicated is likely to provide some very real benefits.

Examples of simulate in a Sentence

The model will be used to simulate the effects of an earthquake. cosmetics that simulate a suntan

Recent Examples on the Web

In particular, Gorilla Glass 6 looks worse than 5 when looking at this year’s product sheet for a test that simulates having coins next to the screen. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "Why your brand-new smartphone will scratch just as easily as your old one," 19 Oct. 2018 Project Gemini, also due for release next year, is a new painting app that simulates real brushes, paints, and materials as well as the interactions between them. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "The full Photoshop CC is coming to the iPad in 2019," 15 Oct. 2018 There’s also the fact that many, but not all, combination pills have placebos at the end of the month to allow for a withdrawal bleed that simulates your period. SELF, "Here’s Exactly How to Find the Best Birth Control Pill for You," 14 Sep. 2018 Recommendations this week: Arielle recommends The Habitat, a new non-fiction podcast series from Gimlet Media, about a group of people who volunteered for a year-long mission that simulated living life on Mars. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "The Future is Vertical," 22 June 2018 To simulate the scrutiny of local media, Belfer brought in real reporter from the Financial Times, who dragged leery officials before a camera in the hallway, where their answers were broadcast live on a projection screen hanging in the ballroom. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 2018 The Amtec-Kistler car wash attacks paint with a rotating wheel of wet brushes, to simulate microscopic scratches that happen during, well, car washes. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Don't Let This Mad Scratch Machine Anywhere Near Your Car," 17 Oct. 2018 By tracking all those factors and tinkering with them, the researchers can find the ideal growing environments for the plants—as well as simulating different environments to see how the plants react to those. Jesse Newman, WSJ, "Six Technologies That Could Shake the Food World," 2 Oct. 2018 In the final stages of recovery, the turtle is transferred to a different part of the aquarium where human interaction is kept to a minimum to simulate conditions in the wild. Alex Park, Houston Chronicle, "Critically endangered sea turtle species now at Texas State Aquarium," 5 July 2018

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

1652, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for simulate

Latin simulatus, past participle of simulare to copy, represent, feign, from similis like — more at same

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Statistics for simulate

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for simulate

The first known use of simulate was in 1652

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More Definitions for simulate



English Language Learners Definition of simulate

: to look, feel, or behave like (something)


transitive verb
sim·​u·​late | \ˈsim-yə-ˌlāt \
simulated; simulating

Medical Definition of simulate 

: to have or produce a symptomatic resemblance to lesions simulating leprosy

Other Words from simulate

simulation \ˌsim-​yə-​ˈlā-​shən \ noun


transitive verb
sim·​u·​late | \ˈsim-yə-ˌlāt \
simulated; simulating

Legal Definition of simulate 

in the civil law of Louisiana : to make or carry out in a manner that does not express one's true intent a simulated sale of the debtor's property in which no consideration was paid

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More from Merriam-Webster on simulate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with simulate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for simulate

Spanish Central: Translation of simulate

Nglish: Translation of simulate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of simulate for Arabic Speakers

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