stim·​u·​late | \ ˈstim-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ noun
stimulative \ ˈstim-​yə-​ˌlā-​tiv How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ adjective
stimulator \ ˈstim-​yə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ noun
stimulatory \ ˈstim-​yə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ 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 But history shows such spending does nothing to stimulate the economy. John F. Cogan And John B. Taylor, WSJ, "Those $2,000 Checks Won’t Boost the Economy," 14 Jan. 2021 As for the broader economy, some analysts say $600 stimulus checks fall short of the level of aid needed to stimulate the economy and reverse the economic damage inflicted by the virus — especially with a brutal Covid-19 winter ahead. Jazmin Goodwin, CNN, "Donald Trump is right: $600 is not nearly enough. But $2,000 isn't, either," 23 Dec. 2020 From finding ways to stimulate the economy to changing trade rules to tinkering with corporate taxation, here are some of the ways a Biden presidency could unilaterally influence economic policy. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, "In a Divided Washington, Biden Could Still Exert Economic Power," 8 Nov. 2020 And with the Federal Reserve unable to cut rates much more, bigger deficits might be necessary to stimulate the economy during future downturns. The Economist, "Financial markets How to fix the market for Treasury bonds," 7 Nov. 2020 The measures the government took in March to stabilize the economy and stimulate it over the summer are working better than expected, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung on Saturday. Mariajose Vera,, "Merkel Pledges to Strengthen Germany’s Public Health Service," 5 Sep. 2020 The coronavirus vaccines are injected deep into the muscles and stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. New York Times, "How Taiwan Plans to Stay (Mostly) Covid-Free," 2 Jan. 2021 Warren has said debt cancellation is the biggest step Biden could take to stimulate the economy without Congress. Jennifer Epstein,, "Biden Picks Connecticut Schools Chief for Education Secretary," 22 Dec. 2020 As a way to stimulate the economy, those earning less than $75,000 will soon receive a one-time handout of $600, plus $600 for each of their dependent children. Amanda Shendruk, Quartz, "Here’s how far a $600 stimulus check goes in 22 American cities," 21 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for stimulate

Time Traveler

The first known use of stimulate was in 1566

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Statistics for stimulate

Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stimulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for stimulate


How to pronounce stimulate (audio)

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 How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ adjective
stimulatory \ -​lə-​ˌtōr-​ē, -​ˌtȯr-​ How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on stimulate

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