stim·​u·​late | \ ˈstim-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \
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

Other Words from stimulate

stimulation \ ˌstim-​yə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ noun
stimulative \ ˈstim-​yə-​ˌlā-​tiv How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ adjective
stimulator \ ˈstim-​yə-​ˌlā-​tər How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ noun
stimulatory \ ˈstim-​yə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ 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 The town of Pratola Peligna, located about a two-hour drive east of Rome, is hoping to revitalize its culture, preserve its history, and stimulate its socioeconomic growth by launching the scheme to attract new residents, the town said in a release. Rachel Chang, Travel + Leisure, 12 Oct. 2021 Historically, manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods stimulate demand through a steady stream of introductions, with roughly one-third of items being replaced each year. Steve Banker, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 The asset purchases aim to stimulate the economy by holding down long-term interest rates to spur borrowing and spending. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, 16 Aug. 2021 Other research has variously suggested that exposure to negative ions could elevate mood and alertness, reduce stress and stimulate the fight-or-flight response by increasing the heart rate and blood flow to the muscles. New York Times, 28 July 2021 Quantitative easing helps stimulate the economy by driving down interest rates, which hurts savers. Allan Sloan, ProPublica, 27 Apr. 2021 Airlines in Europe have been trying to stimulate demand by lowering ticket prices for travel in the second quarter of 2021, according to Skytra, a unit of Airbus SE which collates travel industry data. Nikos Chrysoloras, Fortune, 17 Mar. 2021 Further review showed that coffee aroma may enhance working memory and stimulate alertness. Julia Musto, Fox News, 12 Nov. 2021 These treatments can also stimulate collagen production, says Dr. Hooper. Adele Jackson-gibson, Good Housekeeping, 8 Nov. 2021

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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Time Traveler for stimulate

Time Traveler

The first known use of stimulate was in 1566

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Last Updated

29 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stimulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ adjective
stimulatory \ -​lə-​ˌtōr-​ē, -​ˌtȯr-​ How to pronounce stimulate (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on stimulate

Nglish: Translation of stimulate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stimulate for Arabic Speakers


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