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[gal-vuh-nahyz] /ˈgæl vəˌnaɪz/
verb (used with object), galvanized, galvanizing.
to stimulate by or as if by a galvanic current.
Medicine/Medical. to stimulate or treat (muscles or nerves) with induced direct current (distinguished from faradize).
to startle into sudden activity; stimulate.
to coat (metal, especially iron or steel) with zinc.
Also, especially British, galvanise.
Origin of galvanize
1795-1805; < French galvaniser, named after Luigi Galvani; see -ize
Related forms
galvanization, noun
galvanizer, noun
nongalvanized, adjective
pregalvanize, verb (used with object), pregalvanized, pregalvanizing.
regalvanization, noun
regalvanize, verb (used with object), regalvanized, regalvanizing.
ungalvanized, adjective
3. rouse, stir, electrify, fire, spur, animate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for galvanise
Historical Examples
  • This shock was all the more terrible as it seemed to galvanise a corpse.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • It might still be that she would be able to galvanise him into that lover's vitality, of which she had dreamed.

    Is He Popenjoy?

    Anthony Trollope
  • A Mr. Gilmore purchased it, and endeavoured to galvanise it into life.

    Memoirs Charles Godfrey Leland
  • It is to be a literary battery to galvanise Grey Town into energy.

    Grey Town Gerald Baldwin
  • Madame Rachel can only galvanise the corpse, not revivify it.

  • The Weimar Parliament is so dead that only civil war can galvanise it to action.

    The New Germany George Young
  • Borrow strove to galvanise the General Committee into action.

    The Life of George Borrow Herbert Jenkins
  • There was not a living fibre in it, and my task was to try to galvanise the corpse.

    Success (Second Edition) Max Aitken Beaverbrook
  • Her voice seemed to galvanise him into life, and he started up and gazed at her wonderingly.

    Blind Policy George Manville Fenn
  • Some are seeking to galvanise religious life by recurrence to evangelistic methods successfully operative half a century ago.

    Edward Caldwell Moore Edward Moore
British Dictionary definitions for galvanise


verb (transitive)
to stimulate to action; excite; startle
to cover (iron, steel, etc) with a protective zinc coating by dipping into molten zinc or by electrodeposition
to stimulate by application of an electric current
(Caribbean) galvanized iron, usually in the form of corrugated sheets as used in roofing
Derived Forms
galvanization, galvanisation, noun
galvanizer, galvaniser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for galvanise

chiefly British English spelling of galvanize; for suffix, see -ize. Related: Galvanised; galvanising.



1802, from French galvaniser, from galvanisme (see galvanism). Figurative sense of "excite, stimulate (as if by electricity)" first recorded 1853. Meaning "to coat with metal by means of galvanic electricity" (especially to plate iron with tin, but now typically to plate it with zinc) is from 1839.

He'll swear that in her dancing she cuts all others out,
Though like a Gal that's galvanized, she throws her legs about.
[Thomas Hood, "Love has not Eyes," 1845]
Related: Galvanized; galvanizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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