- to make active; cause to function or act.
- to render more reactive; excite: to activate a molecule.
- to induce radioactivity.
- to aerate (sewage) in order to accelerate decomposition of impure organic matter by microorganisms.
- to make (carbon, a catalyst, molecules, etc.) more active.
- to hasten (reactions) by various means, as heating.
- to place (a military unit or station) on an active status in an assigned capacity.
Origin of activate
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for activate
I read a study not long ago that chewing actually does activate your brain.Elizabeth Gilbert: How I Write
October 2, 2013
The manager responded by directing the first teller to call the police and activate the alarm.New Usual Suspects in U.S. Bank Heists: Women
May 14, 2012
Perry will home in on the darkest corners of the Tea Party mind and work relentlessly to activate the demons that lurk there.Perry: King of the Know-Nothings
August 19, 2011
Made from a Chinese root, TA-65 helps to activate telomerase, which rebuilds the strands.The New Science of Reverse Aging
November 7, 2010
We now know that both of the so-called printer bombs employed circuit boards from cellphones to activate the detonators.Al Qaeda's Doomsday Plan
November 2, 2010
It seemed to activate some hidden response in her, for she glowed with tenderness.Martians Never Die
And, remember, if it becomes necessary, I can activate the manacle.The Players
Everett B. Cole
Feedback will be to a master control servo that'll activate the heater or cooler.Question of Comfort
The males are few in number and lack the power to activate the disks.Storm Over Warlock
It could be induced to go into action and to activate the other plasmoids.Legacy
James H Schmitz
- to make active or capable of action
- physics to make radioactive
- to increase the rate of (a reaction)
- to treat (a substance, such as carbon or alumina) so as to increase powers of adsorption
- physiol to prepare by arousal (the body or one of its organs (e.g. the brain)) for action
- to purify (sewage) by aeration
- US military to create, mobilize, or organize (a unit)
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
Word Origin and History for activate
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper