[ ak-tuh-veyt ]
/ ˈæk təˌveɪt /

verb (used with object), ac·ti·vat·ed, ac·ti·vat·ing.

to make active; cause to function or act.
  1. to render more reactive; excite: to activate a molecule.
  2. to induce radioactivity.
to aerate (sewage) in order to accelerate decomposition of impure organic matter by microorganisms.
  1. to make (carbon, a catalyst, molecules, etc.) more active.
  2. to hasten (reactions) by various means, as heating.
to place (a military unit or station) on an active status in an assigned capacity.

Nearby words

  1. actionable,
  2. actioner,
  3. actions speak louder than words,
  4. actis,
  5. actium,
  6. activated alumina,
  7. activated carbon,
  8. activated charcoal,
  9. activated mine,
  10. activated resin

Origin of activate

First recorded in 1620–30; active + -ate1

Related forms
Can be confusedactivate actuate stimulate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for activated

British Dictionary definitions for activated


/ (ˈæktɪˌveɪt) /

verb (tr)

to make active or capable of action
physics to make radioactive
  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
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)
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