sim·​u·​late ˈsim-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce simulate (audio)
simulated; simulating

transitive verb

: to give or assume the appearance or effect of often with the intent to deceive : imitate
: to make a simulation of (something, such as a physical system)
simulative adjective

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.

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

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 On the PCMark Work 3.0 test, which simulates general mobile tasks, the Galaxy A25 reached 12,718. PCMAG, 6 Apr. 2024 Studying Striking Stars For this new study, a research team looked at 1,000 stars in the star cluster near the Milky Way's supermassive black hole and simulated them orbiting around Sagittarius A (Sgr A). Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 5 Apr. 2024 The board is designed for beginners, and the company says kids as young as 3 can use it to simulate spins, twists, and slides. Maya Polton, Parents, 24 Mar. 2024 Despite their relatively small numbers, the Ghost Army was able to simulate around 30,000 men, or two divisions, by using radio, sonic and visual deception, according to the National World War II Museum. Emily Deletter, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2024 The frustrated Daly simulates a Star Trek–like space adventure within the game, using his co-workers’ DNA to create digital clones of them and leading them as the captain of the USS Callister starship. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Mar. 2024 The Filipino contractors effectively functioned as artificial artificial intelligence, simulating the output of software algorithms that had yet to be completed. IEEE Spectrum, 13 Mar. 2024 Temporal data capturing fluctuations in renewable generation and electricity demand at an hourly resolution are also incorporated into the model, therefore allowing users to simulate grid operations over time. IEEE Spectrum, 26 Mar. 2024 Anabella, an Israeli company co-founded by a woman, recently released the first breast pump to simulate a baby’s tongue. Sydney Page, Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'simulate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Latin simulātus, similātus, past participle of simulāre, similāre "to pretend, assume the appearance of by one's conduct, produce a fraudulent imitation of, imitate," derivative of similis "having characteristics in common, like" — more at similar

First Known Use

1652, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of simulate was in 1652

Dictionary Entries Near simulate

Cite this Entry

“Simulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


sim·​u·​late ˈsim-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce simulate (audio)
simulated; simulating
: to give the appearance or effect of : imitate

Medical Definition


transitive verb
sim·​u·​late ˈsim-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce simulate (audio)
simulated; simulating
: to have or produce a symptomatic resemblance to
lesions simulating leprosy
simulation noun

Legal Definition


transitive verb
sim·​u·​late ˈsim-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce simulate (audio)
simulated; simulating
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

More from Merriam-Webster on simulate

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