ven·​ti·​late | \ ˈven-tə-ˌlāt How to pronounce ventilate (audio) \
ventilated; ventilating

Definition of ventilate

transitive verb

1a : to expose to air and especially to a current of fresh air for purifying, curing, or refreshing ventilate stored grain also : oxygenate, aerate ventilate blood in the lungs
b : to subject the lungs to ventilation artificially ventilate a patient in respiratory distress
2a : to examine, discuss, or investigate freely and openly : expose ventilating family quarrels in public
b : to make public : utter ventilated their objections at length
3a of a current of air : to pass or circulate through so as to freshen
b : to cause fresh air to circulate through (a place, such as a room or a mine)
4 : to provide an opening in (a burning structure) to permit escape of smoke and heat
5 archaic : to free from chaff by winnowing

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Synonyms & Antonyms for ventilate



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Examples of ventilate in a Sentence

She opened the windows to ventilate the room. The room was adequately ventilated.
Recent Examples on the Web Instead Hailsham, the progressive boarding school, was founded, an incremental half measure that allowed people to ventilate their guilt without substantially changing the status quo. New York Times, "Kazuo Ishiguro Sees What the Future Is Doing to Us," 23 Feb. 2021 La Jolla’s sea breeze will ventilate the tents, helping fend off the coronavirus and enabling UCSD to increase its in-person enrollment to 7,400, up 800 from the fall, the university says. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "UC San Diego forges ahead with plan to bounce back from damaging days of COVID-19," 12 Dec. 2020 For this reason, many consumers opt to ventilate (opening windows or running the hood) concurrently. Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping, "What You Need to Know Before Starting Your Oven's Self-Cleaning Cycle," 7 Dec. 2020 Firefighters on the ground and on the roof appeared to use chainsaws and other tools to cut holes, presumably to ventilate the smoldering building. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fire damages former InCahoots building in Mission Valley," 22 Nov. 2020 Structures that lack the ability to ventilate outside / fresh air will not be permitted. Leeanne Griffin,, "Connecticut resolution allows igloos, outdoor dining structures, overturning ban," 7 Nov. 2020 Experts who reviewed the CDC’s Friday post had said the language change had the power to shift policy and drive a major rethinking on the need to better ventilate indoor air. Ben Guarino, Chris Mooney, Anchorage Daily News, "No matter what the CDC says, here’s why many scientists think the coronavirus is airborne," 22 Sep. 2020 This bad boy can ventilate a whole room thanks to its electrically reversible intake and exhaust motor, which does the job of expelling accumulating heat during the day and drawing in cool evening air by night. Isabelle Kagan, USA TODAY, "Here's where you can find the best cooling fans on sale," 31 July 2020 Hurricanes can also intensify significantly when winds in the upper atmosphere are light under an area of high pressure, which allows the hurricane to ventilate itself and grow stronger, said. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Hurricane Laura could undergo 'rapid intensification' before landfall. Here's why that could be so dangerous.," 26 Aug. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for ventilate

Middle English, "discussed, aired," borrowed from Latin ventilātus, past participle of ventilāre "to expose to the air, fan, expose to consideration," from ventus "wind" + -ilāre, verbal suffix, variant of -ulāre originally in derivatives of nouns ending in -ulus, -ula, -ulum -ule — more at wind entry 1

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Time Traveler for ventilate

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The first known use of ventilate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for ventilate

Last Updated

6 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ventilate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for ventilate



English Language Learners Definition of ventilate

: to allow fresh air to enter and move through (a room, building, etc.)
formal : to express or discuss (something) openly or publicly


ven·​ti·​late | \ ˈven-tə-ˌlāt How to pronounce ventilate (audio) \
ventilated; ventilating

Kids Definition of ventilate

1 : to let in air and especially a current of fresh air Windows ventilate the room.
2 : to provide with fresh air Keep the plants ventilated.
3 : to discuss freely and openly You should ventilate your complaints.


transitive verb
ven·​ti·​late | \ ˈvent-ᵊl-ˌāt How to pronounce ventilate (audio) \
ventilated; ventilating

Medical Definition of ventilate

1 : to expose to air and especially to a current of fresh air for purifying or refreshing
2a : oxygenate, aerate ventilate blood in the lungs
b : to subject the lungs of (an individual) to ventilation artificially ventilate a patient in respiratory distress
3 : to give verbal expression to (as mental or emotional conflicts)

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