[ ak-choo-eyt ]
/ ˈæk tʃuˌeɪt /

verb (used with object), ac·tu·at·ed, ac·tu·at·ing.

to incite or move to action; impel; motivate: actuated by selfish motives.
to put into action; start a process; turn on: to actuate a machine.

Nearby words

  1. actualize,
  2. actually,
  3. actuals,
  4. actuarial,
  5. actuary,
  6. actuator,
  7. actus reus,
  8. acuate,
  9. acuff,
  10. acuity

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for actuation

  • He was wholly undramatic in the actuation of the characters which he imagined so dramatically.

  • For actuation, watches were provided with mainsprings which have steadily undergone improvement in quality and in placing.

    Inventors at Work|George Iles

British Dictionary definitions for actuation


/ (ˈæktʃʊˌeɪt) /

verb (tr)

to put into action or mechanical motion
to motivate or incite into actionactuated by unworthy desires
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 actuation



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper