• synonyms


verb (used with object), ac·tu·at·ed, ac·tu·at·ing.
  1. to incite or move to action; impel; motivate: actuated by selfish motives.
  2. to put into action; start a process; turn on: to actuate a machine.
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Origin of actuate

1590–1600; < Medieval Latin āctuāt(us) reduced to action (past participle of āctuāre), equivalent to Latin āctu(s) (see act) + -ātus -ate1
Related formsac·tu·a·tion, nounde·ac·tu·ate, verb (used with object), de·ac·tu·at·ed, de·ac·tu·at·ing.self-ac·tu·at·ing, adjectiveun·ac·tu·at·ed, adjective
Can be confusedactivate actuate stimulate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for actuating

activate, prompt, inspire, propel, move, influence, arouse, animate, quicken, incite, motivate, cause, instigate, excite, induce, rouse, spur, energize, drive, impel

Examples from the Web for actuating

Historical Examples of actuating

  • On our side a solemn decision seems to be actuating the masses.

    Three Years in the Federal Cavalry

    Willard Glazier

  • The finer impulse to protect her privacy was not actuating him; he knew that, too.

  • By actuating our wills to love, and holy desire, and other affections.

    A Christian Directory

    Baxter Richard

  • But the actuating principle of the psychic investigators had changed.

  • In every case, a result or "end" is treated as an actuating cause.

British Dictionary definitions for actuating


verb (tr)
  1. to put into action or mechanical motion
  2. to motivate or incite into actionactuated by unworthy desires
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Derived Formsactuation, nounactuator, noun

Word Origin for actuate

C16: from Medieval Latin actuātus, from actuāre to incite to action, from Latin āctus act
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 actuating



1590s, from Medieval Latin actuatus, past participle of actuare, from Latin actus (see act (n.)). Related: Actuated; actuating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper