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

Created with menthol and refreshing eucalyptus, this stimulating gel provides tired muscles with a long-lasting intense cooling sensation, and can help prevent the appearance of cellulite. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "11 Cooling Beauty Products That Beat the Heat," 7 July 2018 After stimulating a spot on the skin for a few minutes, that spot will sweat for 24 hours. Angela Chen, The Verge, "You can learn a lot about health — and crime — through sweat," 14 May 2018 So protein also stimulates insulin, but not as much. Sandy Bauers,, "Good fats, bad fats, and why the ketogenic diet matters," 13 July 2018 The Fed's current projection for the neutral rate — the point where monetary policy is not stimulating growth or restraining it — is 2.9 percent. Martin Crutsinger,, "Federal Reserve projects further gradual hikes in key rate," 13 July 2018 Yanking out the stalks stimulates the plant to produce more flower stalks. Nan Sterman,, "July in the garden," 5 July 2018 Music has been shown to stimulate young children’s brains, while dance helps sharpen motor skills. Zafreen Jaffery, Ed.d., miamiherald, "Bake cookies. Head to the library. Ways to keep your child's brain sharp during the summer," 27 June 2018 In Anchorage, the Alaska Housing Energy Rebate Program (2008-2016) stimulated much of the updating and remodeling, with popular HGTV remodeling and home-flipping shows continuing the push. Anchorage Daily News, "The age of your house isn’t just about the year it was built. Here’s why that’s important when you’re selling.," 22 June 2018 Investments from the two Chinese giants have stimulated growth and expansion, but have also forced changes in leadership and strategy. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Alibaba v. Tencent: Taking the Fight to Southeast Asia," 21 June 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

18 Oct 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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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