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[mil-i-teyt] /ˈmɪl ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used without object), militated, militating.
to have a substantial effect; weigh heavily:
His prison record militated against him.
  1. to be a soldier.
  2. to fight for a belief.
Origin of militate
1615-25; < Latin mīlitātus (past participle of mīlitāre to serve as a soldier), equivalent to mīlit- (stem of mīles) soldier + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
militation, noun
Can be confused
militate, mitigate (see usage note at mitigate)
Usage note
See mitigate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for militate
Historical Examples
  • What would seem to militate against such an explanation is the nature of the tapir.

    The American Egypt Channing Arnold
  • This seems occasionally to militate against the clearness of the work.

    The Translations of Beowulf Chauncey Brewster Tinker
  • Will not the same local interests, and other causes, militate against a compliance?

  • Does it militate against the power of a cause, to rid it of its faults?

    Menticulture Horace Fletcher
  • Hope you will permit nothing to militate against the preservation of that schedule.

    Cappy Ricks Peter B. Kyne
  • If this test should fail, it will militate against the acceptance of my discovery!

    Operation: Outer Space William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • But the prefix; and the epithet combined to militate against this ingenious and plausible, but specious, theory.

  • It does not militate against the profoundest religious conviction.

    Edward Caldwell Moore Edward Moore
  • In so far as men are men at all, or men of honour, they militate under this standard and are true to their colours.

    Soliloquies in England George Santayana
  • Other points that militate against the claim of his descendants may be noted.

    A Daughter of the Dons William MacLeod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for militate


(intransitive; usually foll by against or for) (of facts, actions, etc) to have influence or effect: the evidence militated against his release
Derived Forms
militation, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin mīlitātus, from mīlitāre to be a soldier
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 militate

1620s, "to serve as a soldier" (now rare), from Latin militatum, past participle of militare "serve as a soldier," from miles "soldier" (see military (adj.)). Sense developed via "conflict with," to "be evidence" for or against (1640s). Related: Militated; militating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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