ac·​cel·​er·​ate | \ ik-ˈse-lə-ˌrāt How to pronounce accelerate (audio) , ak- \
accelerated; accelerating

Definition of accelerate

intransitive verb

1 : to move faster : to gain speed The car slowly accelerated. The pace of change has accelerated in recent months.
2 : to progress from grade to grade more rapidly than usual : to follow a speeded-up educational program

transitive verb

1 : to bring about at an earlier time Circumstances accelerated their departure.
2 : to cause to move faster accelerated his steps also : to cause to undergo acceleration
3a : to hasten the progress or development of accelerate our efforts
b : increase accelerate food production
4a : to enable (a student) to complete a course in less than usual time
b : to speed up (something, such as a course of study)

Examples of accelerate in a Sentence

She stepped on the gas and the car accelerated. The plane accelerated down the runway. She stepped on the gas and accelerated the car. He says that cutting taxes will help to accelerate economic growth. The rate of economic growth has continued to accelerate.
Recent Examples on the Web In a number of cases, the Inflation Reduction Act aims to accelerate efforts already underway. Steven Mufson, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Aug. 2022 In about four months, leaders from around the world will gather in Egypt for the U.N. Climate Change Conference to accelerate efforts to reduce emissions, implement adaptations and negotiate financing. Denise Chow, NBC News, 9 Aug. 2022 Federal Reserve officials believe expectations of higher inflation can be self-fulfilling, causing people to pay higher prices and press for higher wages in anticipation of higher costs in the future, causing inflation to accelerate. Austen Hufford, WSJ, 8 Aug. 2022 Billions more would be spent to accelerate U.S. manufacturing of solar panels, electric vehicles and other clean products. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, 7 Aug. 2022 And, of course, drug traffickers continue to synthesize new illicit drugs every day, a process likely to accelerate with advances in artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and biotechnology. Jim Crotty, STAT, 7 Aug. 2022 As a part of the restructuring, On Deck will be forming a new company focused on growing communities for mid-career professionals who want to accelerate their careers. Emma Talley, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Aug. 2022 The city of Baltimore is officially throwing its hat in the ring for a new $1 billion federal agency being established to accelerate the pursuit of a cure for cancer and other ambitious medical research projects. Giacomo Bologna, Baltimore Sun, 5 Aug. 2022 The world’s most influential banks need to substantially accelerate climate efforts if global temperature rise is to be kept within the targets of the Paris Agreement, an assessment released Thursday by an institutional investors group warned. Ed Davey, ajc, 28 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'accelerate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of accelerate

circa 1522, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for accelerate

borrowed from Latin accelerātus, past participle of accelerāre "to add speed to, hasten the occurrence of, go quickly," from ad- ad- + celerāre "to hasten," verbal derivative of celer "swift, speedy," perhaps going back to *keli-li-/ri-, derivative from the Indo-European base of Greek kélomai, kelésthai "urge, exhort," kelēt-, kélēs "swift horse, charger"

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Time Traveler for accelerate

Time Traveler

The first known use of accelerate was circa 1522

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Last Updated

12 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Accelerate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for accelerate


ac·​cel·​er·​ate | \ ak-ˈse-lə-ˌrāt How to pronounce accelerate (audio) \
accelerated; accelerating

Kids Definition of accelerate

1 : to move or cause to move faster The car accelerated going downhill.
2 : to cause to happen more quickly Using plant food accelerates growth.


ac·​cel·​er·​ate | \ ik-ˈsel-ə-ˌrāt, ak- How to pronounce accelerate (audio) \
accelerated; accelerating

Medical Definition of accelerate

transitive verb

: to cause to move faster or speed up accelerated speech and motor activity in manic patients also : to cause to undergo acceleration

intransitive verb

: to move faster : gain speed


accelerated; accelerating

Legal Definition of accelerate

transitive verb

: to bring about at an earlier time: as
a : to advance (the maturity date of a security agreement) so that payment of the debt in full is due immediately — see also acceleration clause
b : to cause (a future interest in property) to vest by removing the preceding interests (as by failure or premature termination)

intransitive verb

: to enforce an acceleration clause held that the creditor's right to accelerate was suspended— J. J. White and R. S. Summers

Other Words from accelerate

acceleration noun

More from Merriam-Webster on accelerate

Nglish: Translation of accelerate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of accelerate for Arabic Speakers


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