tit·​i·​vate | \ ˈti-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce titivate (audio) \
variants: or tittivate
titivated; titivating

Definition of titivate

transitive verb

: to make smart or spruce

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Other Words from titivate

titivation \ ˌti-​tə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce titivate (audio) \ noun

titivate, spruce up, smarten up, or spiff up?

Titivate, spruce, smarten, and spiff all mean "to make a person or thing neater or more attractive." Titivate often refers to making small additions or alterations in attire ("titivate the costume with sequins and other accessories"), but it can also be used figuratively (as in "titivating the script for Broadway"). Spruce up is sometimes used for cosmetic changes or renovations that give the appearance of newness ("spruce up the house with new shutters and fresh paint before trying to sell it"). Smarten up and spiff up both mean to improve in appearance often by making more neat or stylish ("the tailor smartened up the suit with minor alterations"; "he needed some time to spiff himself up for the party"). The origins of titivate are uncertain, but it may have been formed from the English words tidy and renovate.

First Known Use of titivate

1824, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for titivate

perhaps from tidy entry 1 + renovate

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The first known use of titivate was in 1824

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Cite this Entry

“Titivate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/titivate. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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