stim·​u·​late | \ˈstim-yə-ˌlāt \
stimulated; stimulating

Definition of stimulate 

transitive verb

1 : to excite to activity or growth or to greater activity : animate, arouse

2a : to function as a physiological stimulus to

b : to arouse or affect by a stimulant (such as a drug)

intransitive verb

: to act as a stimulant or stimulus

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Other Words from stimulate

stimulation \ˌstim-​yə-​ˈlā-​shən \ noun
stimulative \ˈstim-​yə-​ˌlā-​tiv \ adjective
stimulator \ˈstim-​yə-​ˌlā-​tər \ noun
stimulatory \ˈstim-​yə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for stimulate

provoke, excite, stimulate, pique, quicken mean to arouse as if by pricking. provoke directs attention to the response called forth. my stories usually provoke laughter excite implies a stirring up or moving profoundly. news that excited anger and frustration stimulate suggests a rousing out of lethargy, quiescence, or indifference. stimulating conversation pique suggests stimulating by mild irritation or challenge. that remark piqued my interest quicken implies beneficially stimulating and making active or lively. the high salary quickened her desire to have the job

Examples of stimulate in a Sentence

A raise in employee wages might stimulate production. The economy was not stimulated by the tax cuts. a hormone that stimulates the growth of muscle tissue Their discussion stimulated him to research the subject more. He was stimulated by their discussion.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Even some conservatives erroneously argue that military spending stimulates the economy. Stephen Moore, WSJ, "The Trump Boom Is No Mere ‘Sugar High’," 9 Dec. 2018 While chewing gum will stimulate more salivary flow and help prevent tooth decay in addition to freshening you up, sometimes the situation calls for something a little more discreet. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The 8 Best Breath Mints to Carry Around With You All Day," 7 Dec. 2018 At first, Chamberlin was prescribed a 10-day round of injections with three medications, including a follicle stimulating hormone to spark as much egg growth as possible. Pamela Tsigdinos, Marie Claire, "The Wild World of IVF, Explained," 1 Oct. 2018 Manufacturers argue that the approach stimulates not only profits but also the very innovation that drives the global economy. New York Times, "E-Waste Offers an Economic Opportunity as Well as Toxicity," 5 July 2018 RHB Research Institute analyst Juliana Cai anticipates the World Cup will stimulate consumption for alcoholic beverages. Bloomberg, Fortune, "How to Bet on World Cup 2018—In the Stock Market," 14 June 2018 Some blame the euro rules that limit government spending and deficits, which can stimulate growth. David Mchugh, Fox News, "Is the euro a problem? A look at its role in Italy's drama," 1 June 2018 Birth-control pills can help put women back on a regular cycle and regulate some of the hormonal side effects of PCOS, including acne and hair growth, while other drugs can stimulate ovulation to increase the odds of getting pregnant. Cari Romm, The Cut, "Everything to Know About a New Study on the Causes of PCOS," 18 May 2018 Others suggest that molecules such as bacterial breakdown products stimulate activity along this channel, or that that the gut influences the brain through other mechanisms, such as inflammation. Diana Kwon, Scientific American, "Does Parkinson’s Begin in the Gut?," 8 May 2018

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

1566, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for stimulate

Latin stimulatus, past participle of stimulare, from stimulus goad; perhaps akin to Latin stilus stem, stylus — more at style

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Statistics for stimulate

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stimulate

The first known use of stimulate was in 1566

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More Definitions for stimulate



English Language Learners Definition of stimulate

: to make (something) more active : to cause or encourage (something) to happen or develop

: to make (a person) excited or interested in something


stim·​u·​late | \ˈsti-myə-ˌlāt \
stimulated; stimulating

Kids Definition of stimulate

1 : to make active or more active : arouse The advertisements stimulated interest in the new product.

2 : to act on as a bodily stimulus or stimulant Caffeine stimulates the nervous system.


transitive verb
stim·​u·​late | \-ˌlāt \
stimulated; stimulating

Medical Definition of stimulate 

1 : to excite to activity or growth or to greater activity

2a : to function as a physiological stimulus to (as a nerve or muscle)

b : to arouse or affect by a stimulant (as a drug)

Other Words from stimulate

stimulative \ˈstim-​yə-​ˌlāt-​iv \ adjective
stimulatory \-​lə-​ˌtōr-​ē, -​ˌtȯr-​ \ adjective

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Comments on stimulate

What made you want to look up stimulate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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