[ adjective, noun ahr-tik-yuh-lit; verb ahr-tik-yuh-leyt ]
See synonyms for: articulatearticulatedarticulatesarticulating on

  1. uttered clearly in distinct syllables.

  2. capable of speech; not speechless.

  1. using language easily and fluently; having facility with words: an articulate speaker.

  2. expressed, formulated, or presented with clarity and effectiveness: an articulate thought.

  3. made clear, distinct, and precise in relation to other parts: an articulate form; an articulate shape; an articulate area.

  4. (of ideas, form, etc.) having a meaningful relation to other parts: an articulate image.

  5. having parts or distinct areas organized into a coherent or meaningful whole; unified: an articulate system of philosophy.

  6. Zoology. having joints or articulations; composed of segments.

verb (used with object),ar·tic·u·lat·ed, ar·tic·u·lat·ing.
  1. to utter clearly and distinctly; pronounce with clarity.

  2. Phonetics. to make the movements and adjustments of the speech organs necessary to utter (a speech sound).

  1. to give clarity or distinction to: to articulate a shape; to articulate an idea.

  2. Dentistry. to position or reposition (teeth); subject to articulation.

  3. to unite by a joint or joints.

  4. to reveal or make distinct: an injection to articulate arteries so that obstructions can be observed by x-ray.

verb (used without object),ar·tic·u·lat·ed, ar·tic·u·lat·ing.
  1. to pronounce clearly each of a succession of speech sounds, syllables, or words; enunciate: to articulate with excessive precision.

  2. Phonetics. to articulate a speech sound.

  1. Anatomy, Zoology. to form a joint.

  2. Obsolete. to make terms of agreement.

  1. a segmented invertebrate.

Origin of articulate

First recorded in 1530–40; from Latin articulātus, past participle of articulāre “to divide into distinct parts”; see origin at article, -ate1

synonym study For articulate

4. See eloquent.

word story For articulate

The English adjective articulate first appears in print in 1531 in the meaning “uttered clearly and distinctly.” The verb articulate first appears about 20 years later, in the sense “to formulate in articles, set out, specify.”
Articulate comes from Latin articulātus, the past participle of articulāre “to divide into separate, distinct parts,” a derivative of the noun articulus “joint (of a body), point (of time), clause or section (of a contract or law), a single word in a phrase, clause, or sentence pronounced by itself, a pronoun or pronominal adjective, an article (definite or indefinite).”
As for the last definition, “an article (definite or indefinite, such as the or a in English),” the great, usually levelheaded Roman rhetorician Quintilian wrote Noster sermō articulōs nōn dēsīderat (“Our language does not desire articles”). Quintilian was contrasting Latin, which indeed had no articles, with Greek, which had a fully inflected definite article for all genders, numbers, and cases. Quintilian is proven wrong by the definite and indefinite articles in all the Romance languages.

Other words for articulate

Opposites for articulate

Other words from articulate

  • ar·tic·u·la·ble [ahr-tik-yuh-luh-buhl], /ɑrˈtɪk yə lə bəl/, adjective
  • ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverb
  • ar·tic·u·late·ness, ar·tic·u·la·cy [ahr-tik-yuh-luh-see], /ɑrˈtɪk yə lə si/, noun
  • ar·tic·u·la·tive [ahr-tik-yuh-ley-tiv, -luh-tiv], /ɑrˈtɪk yəˌleɪ tɪv, -lə tɪv/, adjective
  • mis·ar·tic·u·late, verb, mis·ar·tic·u·lat·ed, mis·ar·tic·u·lat·ing.
  • mul·ti·ar·tic·u·late, adjective
  • non·ar·tic·u·late, adjective
  • non·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverb
  • non·ar·tic·u·late·ness, noun
  • non·ar·tic·u·la·tive, adjective
  • o·ver·ar·tic·u·late, adjective
  • o·ver·ar·tic·u·late, verb, o·ver·ar·tic·u·lat·ed, o·ver·ar·tic·u·lat·ing.
  • pre·ar·tic·u·late, adjective
  • pseu·do·ar·tic·u·late, adjective
  • pseu·do·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverb
  • re·ar·tic·u·late, verb, re·ar·tic·u·lat·ed, re·ar·tic·u·lat·ing.
  • sem·i·ar·tic·u·late, adjective
  • sem·i·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverb
  • sub·ar·tic·u·late, adjective
  • sub·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverb
  • sub·ar·tic·u·late·ness, noun
  • sub·ar·tic·u·la·tive, adjective
  • un·ar·tic·u·late, adjective
  • un·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverb
  • un·ar·tic·u·la·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use articulate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for articulate


  1. able to express oneself fluently and coherently: an articulate lecturer

  2. having the power of speech

  1. distinct, clear, or definite; well-constructed: an articulate voice; an articulate document

  2. zoology (of arthropods and higher vertebrates) possessing joints or jointed segments

  1. to speak or enunciate (words, syllables, etc) clearly and distinctly

  2. (tr) to express coherently in words

  1. (intr) zoology to be jointed or form a joint

  2. (tr) to separate into jointed segments

Origin of articulate

C16: from Latin articulāre to divide into joints; see article

Derived forms of articulate

  • articulately, adverb
  • articulateness or articulacy, 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