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verb (used with object), ex·cit·ed, ex·cit·ing.
  1. to arouse or stir up the emotions or feelings of: to excite a person to anger; actions that excited his father's wrath.
  2. to arouse or stir up (emotions or feelings): to excite jealousy or hatred.
  3. to cause; awaken: to excite interest or curiosity.
  4. to stir to action; provoke or stir up: to excite a dog by baiting him.
  5. Physiology. to stimulate: to excite a nerve.
  6. Electricity. to supply with electricity for producing electric activity or a magnetic field: to excite a dynamo.
  7. Physics. to raise (an atom, molecule, etc.) to an excited state.

Origin of excite

1300–50; Middle English < Latin excitāre, equivalent to ex- ex-1 + citāre, frequentative of ciēre to set in motion
Related formspre·ex·cite, verb (used with object), pre·ex·cit·ed, pre·ex·cit·ing.

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for excite


verb (tr)
  1. to arouse (a person) to strong feeling, esp to pleasurable anticipation or nervous agitation
  2. to arouse or elicit (an emotion, response, etc); evokeher answers excited curiosity
  3. to cause or bring about; stir upto excite a rebellion
  4. to arouse sexually
  5. physiol to cause a response in or increase the activity of (an organ, tissue, or part); stimulate
  6. to raise (an atom, molecule, electron, nucleus, etc) from the ground state to a higher energy level
  7. to supply electricity to (the coils of a generator or motor) in order to create a magnetic field
  8. to supply a signal to a stage of an active electronic circuit

Word Origin for excite

C14: from Latin excitāre, from exciēre to stimulate, from ciēre to set in motion, rouse
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 excite

mid-14c., "to move, stir up, instigate," from Old French esciter (12c.) or directly from Latin excitare "rouse, call out, summon forth, produce," frequentative of exciere "call forth, instigate," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + ciere "set in motion, call" (see cite). Of feelings, from late 14c. Of bodily organs or tissues, from 1831. Main modern sense of "emotionally agitate" is first attested 1821.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper