Origin of articulate

First recorded in 1545–55, articulate is from the Latin word articulātus, past participle of articulāre to divide into distinct parts. See article, -ate1
Related formsar·tic·u·la·ble [ahr-tik-yuh-luh-buhl] /ɑrˈtɪk yə lə bəl/, adjectivear·tic·u·late·ly, adverbar·tic·u·late·ness, ar·tic·u·la·cy [ahr-tik-yuh-luh-see] /ɑrˈtɪk yə lə si/, nounar·tic·u·la·tive [ahr-tik-yuh-ley-tiv, -luh-tiv] /ɑrˈtɪk yəˌleɪ tɪv, -lə tɪv/, adjectivemis·ar·tic·u·late, verb, mis·ar·tic·u·lat·ed, mis·ar·tic·u·lat·ing.mul·ti·ar·tic·u·late, adjectivenon·ar·tic·u·late, adjectivenon·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverbnon·ar·tic·u·late·ness, nounnon·ar·tic·u·la·tive, adjectiveo·ver·ar·tic·u·late, adjectiveo·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, adjectivepseu·do·ar·tic·u·late, adjectivepseu·do·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverbre·ar·tic·u·late, verb, re·ar·tic·u·lat·ed, re·ar·tic·u·lat·ing.sem·i·ar·tic·u·late, adjectivesem·i·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverbsub·ar·tic·u·late, adjectivesub·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverbsub·ar·tic·u·late·ness, nounsub·ar·tic·u·la·tive, adjectiveun·ar·tic·u·late, adjectiveun·ar·tic·u·late·ly, adverbun·ar·tic·u·la·tive, adjective

Synonyms for articulate

4. expressive. See eloquent. 9. enunciate.

Antonyms for articulate

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

Examples from the Web for articulate

Contemporary Examples of articulate

Historical Examples of articulate

  • I have grown tired of the articulate utterances of men and things.

    De Profundis

    Oscar Wilde

  • My soul was so completely touched, that I could not articulate.

  • By and by, the rushing noise began to sound like articulate language.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • When finally he was able to articulate it was in broken gasps.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • His voice was rather feeble, but clear, articulate, and musical.

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for articulate


adjective (ɑːˈtɪkjʊlɪt)

able to express oneself fluently and coherentlyan articulate lecturer
having the power of speech
distinct, clear, or definite; well-constructedan articulate voice; an articulate document
zoology (of arthropods and higher vertebrates) possessing joints or jointed segments

verb (ɑːˈtɪkjʊˌleɪt)

to speak or enunciate (words, syllables, etc) clearly and distinctly
(tr) to express coherently in words
(intr) zoology to be jointed or form a joint
(tr) to separate into jointed segments
Derived Formsarticulately, adverbarticulateness or articulacy, noun

Word Origin for articulate

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

1590s, "to divide speech into distinct parts" (earlier "to formally bring charges against," 1550s), from Latin articulatus, past participle of articulare "to separate into joints," also "to utter distinctly," from articulus "joint" (see article). Generalized sense of "express in words" is from 1690s. Literal sense, "to join, to attach by joints," is attested from 1610s. Earlier senses, "to set forth in articles," "to bring a charge against" (1560s) now are obsolete or nearly so. Related: Articulated; articulating.


1580s in the speech sense (1570s as "formulated in articles"), from Latin articulatus (see articulate (v.)). Literal meaning "composed of segments united by joints" is from c.1600; the general sense of "speaking accurately" is short for articulate-speaking (1829). Related: Articulately.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for articulate




Capable of speaking distinctly and connectedly.
Consisting of sections united by joints; jointed.


To speak distinctly and connectedly.
To join or connect together loosely to allow motion between the parts.
To unite by forming a joint or joints.
To form a joint; be jointed.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.