[ek-sahy-tey-shuh n, -si-]
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  1. the act of exciting.
  2. the state of being excited.
  3. Electricity.
    1. the application of voltage to an electric device, as an electron-tube circuit, an antenna, or a dynamotor, often for producing a magnetic field in the device.
    2. the voltage applied.
  4. Physics. a process in which a molecule, atom, nucleus, or particle is excited.
  5. Also called drive. Electronics. the varying voltage applied to the control electrode of a vacuum tube.

Origin of excitation

1350–1400; Middle English excitacioun < Late Latin excitātiōn- (stem of excitātiō), equivalent to Latin excitāt(us) (past participle of excitāre; see excite) + -iōn- -ion
Related formspre·ex·ci·ta·tion, nounsu·per·ex·ci·ta·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for excitation


  1. the act or process of exciting or state of being excited
  2. a means of exciting or cause of excitement
    1. the current in a field coil of a generator, motor, etc, or the magnetizing current in a transformer
    2. (as modifier)an excitation current
  3. the action of a stimulus on an animal or plant organ, inducing it to respond
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 excitation

late 14c., from Old French excitation, from Latin excitationem (nominative excitatio), noun of action from past participle stem of excitare (see excite).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

excitation in Medicine


  1. The act of increasing the rapidity or intensity of the physical or mental processes; stimulation.
  2. The complete, all-or-none response of a nerve or muscle to an adequate stimulus, ordinarily including propagation of excitation along the membranes of the cell or cells involved.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

excitation in Science


  1. The activity produced in an organ, tissue, or cell of the body that is caused by stimulation, especially by a nerve or neuron. Compare inhibition.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.