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verb (used with object), in·tim·i·dat·ed, in·tim·i·dat·ing.
  1. to make timid; fill with fear.
  2. to overawe or cow, as through the force of personality or by superior display of wealth, talent, etc.
  3. to force into or deter from some action by inducing fear: to intimidate a voter into staying away from the polls.
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Origin of intimidate

1640–50; < Medieval Latin intimidātus, past participle of intimidāre to make afraid, equivalent to Latin in- in-2 + timid(us) timid, afraid + -ātus -ate1
Related formsin·tim·i·da·tion, nounin·tim·i·da·tor, nounin·tim·i·da·to·ry [in-tim-i-duh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪnˈtɪm ɪ dəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectiveun·in·tim·i·dat·ed, adjectiveun·in·tim·i·dat·ing, adjective
Can be confusedintimate intimidate

Synonyms for intimidate

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Synonym study

1. See discourage.

Antonyms for intimidate

1. calm. 3. encourage.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for intimidation

coercion, frightening, threatening, demoralizing, daunting

Examples from the Web for intimidation

Contemporary Examples of intimidation

Historical Examples of intimidation

British Dictionary definitions for intimidation


verb (tr)
  1. to make timid or frightened; scare
  2. to discourage, restrain, or silence illegally or unscrupulously, as by threats or blackmail
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Derived Formsintimidating, adjectiveintimidation, nounintimidator, noun

Word Origin for intimidate

C17: from Medieval Latin intimidāre, from Latin in- ² + timidus fearful, from timor fear
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 intimidation


1650s, noun of action from intimidate; perhaps modeled on French intimidation.

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1640s, from Medieval Latin intimidatus, past participle of intimidare "to frighten, intimidate," from Latin in- "in" (see in- (2)) + timidus "fearful" (see timid). Related: Intimidated; intimidating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper