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 When subjected to conditions that simulate the environment on Mars, the moss – Syntrichia Caninervis – was found to be able to withstand extreme dryness, ultra-low temperatures and radiation, the academy said in a research paper published in The Innovation journal last week. Fox News, 10 July 2024 Car designers routinely use virtual reality to simulate vehicle features during the engineering phase, while MR blends virtual content with the real world. Joann Muller, Axios, 9 July 2024 Machine learning is a subfield of artificial intelligence, which explores how to computationally simulate (or surpass) humanlike intelligence. John Pavlus, Quanta Magazine, 8 July 2024 Would-be attackers fire blank rounds from the cover of buildings on both sides of the street to simulate a real assault on a protectee. Quinn Owen, ABC News, 7 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for simulate 

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 20 Jul. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!