See more synonyms for activate on
verb (used with object), ac·ti·vat·ed, ac·ti·vat·ing.
  1. to make active; cause to function or act.
  2. Physics.
    1. to render more reactive; excite: to activate a molecule.
    2. to induce radioactivity.
  3. to aerate (sewage) in order to accelerate decomposition of impure organic matter by microorganisms.
  4. Chemistry.
    1. to make (carbon, a catalyst, molecules, etc.) more active.
    2. to hasten (reactions) by various means, as heating.
  5. to place (a military unit or station) on an active status in an assigned capacity.

Origin of activate

First recorded in 1620–30; active + -ate1
Related formsac·ti·va·tion, nounnon·ac·ti·va·tion, nouno·ver·ac·ti·vate, verb (used with object), o·ver·ac·ti·vat·ed, o·ver·ac·ti·vat··per·ac·ti·vate, verb (used with object), su·per·ac·ti·vat·ed, su·per·ac·ti·vat·ing.un·ac·ti·vat·ed, adjective
Can be confusedactivate actuate stimulate

Synonyms for activate

See more synonyms for on
1. actuate, start, turn on, set going.

Antonyms for activate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for activated

Contemporary Examples of activated

Historical Examples of activated

  • Nuwell activated it, and they went through it into the big building.

    Rebels of the Red Planet

    Charles Louis Fontenay

  • When you threw that switch, it sent out an impulse that activated them.

    The Cosmic Computer

    Henry Beam Piper

  • Behind the collapsium shielding, they wouldn't have been activated.

    The Cosmic Computer

    Henry Beam Piper

  • But a machine that ain't been activated has not got any personality.

    The Machine That Saved The World

    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

  • Baggage need not be opened, providing its spyproofing was not activated.


    James H Schmitz

British Dictionary definitions for activated


verb (tr)
  1. to make active or capable of action
  2. physics to make radioactive
  3. chem
    1. to increase the rate of (a reaction)
    2. to treat (a substance, such as carbon or alumina) so as to increase powers of adsorption
  4. physiol to prepare by arousal (the body or one of its organs (e.g. the brain)) for action
  5. to purify (sewage) by aeration
  6. US military to create, mobilize, or organize (a unit)
Derived Formsactivation, nounactivator, 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

Word Origin and History for activated



1620s; see active + -ate (2). Related: Activated; activating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper