1 : to gather or pile in a heap
2 : to combine into one
3 : to build up by addition of new material
Did You Know?
Cumulate and its far more common relative accumulate both come from the Latin word cumulare, meaning "to heap up." Cumulare, in turn, comes from cumulus, meaning "mass." (Cumulus functions as an English word in its own right as well. It can mean "heap" or "accumulation," or it can refer to a kind of dense puffy cloud with a flat base and rounded outlines.) Cumulate and accumulate overlap in meaning, but you're likely to find cumulate mostly in technical contexts. The word's related adjective, cumulative, however, is used more widely.
"In the alternative, the company may provide greater input to minority shareholders by allowing shareholders to cumulate their votes and cast them all for one director." — Gregory Monday, The Milwaukee Business Journal, 5 Mar. 2018
"The report … compares various income estimates and reaches a similar conclusion: Most Americans have realized small annual increases that ultimately cumulated into meaningful gains." — Robert Samuelson, The Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine), 12 Dec. 2018
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of cumulate: c _ n _ l _ m _ r _ t _.VIEW THE ANSWER
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