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verb (used with object), dem·on·strat·ed, dem·on·strat·ing.
  1. to make evident or establish by arguments or reasoning; prove: to demonstrate a philosophical principle.
  2. to describe, explain, or illustrate by examples, specimens, experiments, or the like: to demonstrate the force of gravity by dropping an object.
  3. to manifest or exhibit; show: He demonstrated his courage by his actions in battle.
  4. to display openly or publicly, as feelings: to demonstrate one's anger by slamming a door.
  5. to exhibit the operation or use of (a device, process, product, or the like), usually to a purchaser or prospect: to demonstrate an automobile.
verb (used without object), dem·on·strat·ed, dem·on·strat·ing.
  1. to make, give, or take part in, a demonstration: The pickets required a license to demonstrate.
  2. Military. to attack or make a show of force to deceive an enemy.

Origin of demonstrate

1545–55; < Latin dēmonstrātus, past participle of dēmonstrāre to show, point out, equivalent to dē- de- + monstrāre to show, verbal derivative of monstrum sign, portent
Related formsdem·on·strat·ed·ly, adverbcoun·ter·dem·on·strate, verb (used without object), coun·ter·dem·on·strat·ed, coun·ter·dem·on·strat·ing.pre·dem·on·strate, verb (used with object), pre·dem·on·strat·ed, pre·dem·on·strat··dem·on·strate, verb, re·dem·on·strat·ed, re·dem·on·strat·ing.sub·dem·on·strate, verb (used with object), sub·dem·on·strat·ed, sub·dem·on·strat·ing.un·dem·on·strat·ed, adjectivewell-dem·on·strat·ed, adjective

Synonyms for demonstrate

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for demonstrate


  1. (tr) to show, manifest, or prove, esp by reasoning, evidence, etcit is easy to demonstrate the truth of this proposition
  2. (tr) to evince; reveal the existence ofthe scheme later demonstrated a fatal flaw
  3. (tr) to explain or illustrate by experiment, example, etc
  4. (tr) to display, operate, and explain the workings of (a machine, product, etc)
  5. (intr) to manifest support, protest, etc, by public parades or rallies
  6. (intr) to be employed as a demonstrator of machinery, etc
  7. (intr) military to make a show of force, esp in order to deceive one's enemy

Word Origin for demonstrate

C16: from Latin dēmonstrāre to point out, from monstrāre to show
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 demonstrate

1550s, "to point out," from Latin demonstratus, past participle of demonstrare (see demonstration). Meaning "to point out by argument or deduction" is from 1570s. Related: Demonstrated; demonstrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper