[ jen-uh-reyt ]
See synonyms for generate on
verb (used with object),gen·er·at·ed, gen·er·at·ing.
  1. to bring into existence; cause to be; produce.

  2. to create by a vital or natural process.

  1. to create and distribute vitally and profusely: He generates ideas that we all should consider.A good diplomat generates good will.

  2. to reproduce; procreate.

  3. to produce by a chemical process.

  4. Mathematics.

    • to trace (a figure) by the motion of a point, straight line, or curve.

    • to act as base for all the elements of a given set: The number 2 generates the set 2, 4, 8, 16.

  5. Linguistics. to produce or specify (a grammatical sentence or other construction or set of constructions) by the application of a rule or set of rules in a generative grammar.

verb (used without object),gen·er·at·ed, gen·er·at·ing.
  1. to reproduce; propagate.

Origin of generate

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Latin generātus “begotten, produced,” past participle of generāre “to beget”; see genus

Other words for generate

Other words from generate

  • in·ter·gen·er·at·ing, adjective
  • non·gen·er·at·ing, adjective
  • pre·gen·er·ate, verb (used with object), pre·gen·er·at·ed, pre·gen·er·at·ing.
  • un·gen·er·at·ed, adjective
  • un·gen·er·at·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use generate in a sentence

  • Billions upon billions of dollars worth of generating equipment were rendered valueless.

    Unwise Child | Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Each of these nervous masses contains nerve-cells as well as nerve-fibres, and is capable of generating nerve-force.

    The Education of American Girls | Anna Callender Brackett
  • Otto von Guericke, burgomaster of Magdeburg, invented the electrical machine for generating large quantities of the electric fire.

  • Yet the failure of the bulb casts no reflection upon the generating station, for the current is still there.

    Spirit and Music | H. Ernest Hunt
  • In this ship they had more generating facilities than all the power stations of Earth combined!

    Islands of Space | John W Campbell

British Dictionary definitions for generate


/ (ˈdʒɛnəˌreɪt) /

verb(mainly tr)
  1. to produce or bring into being; create

  2. (also intr) to produce (electricity), esp in a power station

  1. to produce (a substance) by a chemical process

  2. maths linguistics to provide a precise criterion or specification for membership in (a set): these rules will generate all the noun phrases in English

  3. geometry to trace or form by moving a point, line, or plane in a specific way: circular motion of a line generates a cylinder

Origin of generate

C16: from Latin generāre to beget, from genus kind

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