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

Experts also recommend creams and serums with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and peptides to hydrate and stimulate collagen and elastin production, plumping up the skin and pushing it away from the pooled blood. Talia Abbas, SELF, "Puffy Eyes, Dark Circles, and Bags: Dermatologists Explain the Difference," 8 Aug. 2018 Layers of charcoal residue buried beneath the northern Montana prairie show that pre-Columbian indigenous hunters on the Great Plains once burned patches of grassland to stimulate new growth. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Native Americans managed the prairie for better bison hunts," 25 July 2018 Once in your stomach, freekeh acts as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria that aid digestion. Leah Zerbe, Good Housekeeping, "The 11 Healthiest Whole Grains You Should Be Eating," 17 July 2018 Some studies suggest that getting lip filler gradually over time, like Jenner, can stimulate the natural collagen production of your own lips. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner Admits She "Got Rid Of" All Her Lip Filler," 9 July 2018 Other company products were recommended for acne, to stimulate production of stem cells, to reduce tartar buildup and to promote healthy circulation, the FDA letter says. Lois Norder, ajc, "Peachtree City company warned about promoting unapproved drugs," 15 June 2018 The reasoning behind tariffs is to make imported goods more expensive in order to, hopefully, stimulate the American manufacturing industry and protect American intellectual property, discouraging the production of counterfeit goods. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How Trump’s tariffs are affecting the furniture industry," 7 Aug. 2018 Modius works by gently stimulating the vestibular nerve near the skin’s surface behind the ear, and sending a signal to the hypothalamus, according to its developer, neuroscientist Jason McKeown. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "This headset is supposed to help you lose weight the easy way," 25 Feb. 2018 Being with a young person also stimulates her mother, Piloto said. Tara Bahrampour,, "These college students moonlight as 'grandkids' for hire. Seniors love it.," 20 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

29 Nov 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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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