[ uh-kyoo-myuh-leyt ]
See synonyms for accumulate on
verb (used with object),ac·cu·mu·lat·ed, ac·cu·mu·lat·ing.
  1. to gather or collect, often in gradual degrees; heap up: to accumulate wealth.

verb (used without object),ac·cu·mu·lat·ed, ac·cu·mu·lat·ing.
  1. to gather into a heap, mass, cover, etc.; form a steadily increasing quantity: Snow accumulated in the driveway. His debts kept on accumulating.

Origin of accumulate

First recorded in 1520–30; from Latin accumulātus “heaped up,” past participle of accumulāre “to heap up,” from ac- ac- + cumul(us) “heap” (see cumulus ) + -āre, infinitive verb suffix

Other words from accumulate

  • ac·cu·mu·la·ble, adjective
  • non·ac·cu·mu·lat·ing, adjective
  • o·ver·ac·cu·mu·late, verb, o·ver·ac·cu·mu·lat·ed, o·ver·ac·cu·mu·lat·ing.
  • pre·ac·cu·mu·late, verb (used with object), pre·ac·cu·mu·lat·ed, pre·ac·cu·mu·lat·ing.
  • re·ac·cu·mu·late, verb, re·ac·cu·mu·lat·ed, re·ac·cu·mu·lat·ing.
  • su·per·ac·cu·mu·late, verb (used without object), su·per·ac·cu·mu·lat·ed, su·per·ac·cu·mu·lat·ing.
  • un·ac·cu·mu·la·ble, adjective
  • un·ac·cu·mu·lat·ed, adjective
  • well-ac·cu·mu·lat·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use accumulate in a sentence

  • It has been shown by Chevandrier, that an acre of land under beech wood accumulates annually about 1650 lb.

  • If by chance the detritus accumulates rapidly, the slope is steepened and the work of the torrent made more efficient.

    Outlines of the Earth's History | Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
  • By individual thrift Society accumulates, and it is wise to encourage thrift.

    The Inhumanity of Socialism | Edward F. Adams
  • It crowds the hours, and accumulates until often discouragement and nervous exhaustion follow.

    The Leaven in a Great City | Lillian William Betts
  • Its increasing independence of the ostensible career makes it the organ of corrective criticism; it accumulates disturbing energy.

    The New Machiavelli | Herbert George Wells

British Dictionary definitions for accumulate


/ (əˈkjuːmjʊˌleɪt) /

  1. to gather or become gathered together in an increasing quantity; amass; collect

Origin of accumulate

C16: from Latin accumulātus, past participle of accumulāre to heap up, from cumulus a heap

Derived forms of accumulate

  • accumulable, adjective
  • accumulative, adjective
  • accumulatively, adverb
  • accumulativeness, 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