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See more synonyms for militate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), mil·i·tat·ed, mil·i·tat·ing.
  1. to have a substantial effect; weigh heavily: His prison record militated against him.
  2. Obsolete.
    1. to be a soldier.
    2. to fight for a belief.
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Origin of militate

1615–25; < Latin mīlitātus (past participle of mīlitāre to serve as a soldier), equivalent to mīlit- (stem of mīles) soldier + -ātus -ate1
Related formsmil·i·ta·tion, noun
Can be confusedmilitate mitigate (see usage note at mitigate)

Usage note

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

Related Words for militate

count, import, mean, weigh, register, militate, lade, pull, cut, signify, show, tax, impress, cumber, saddle, matter, charge, burden, press, tell

Examples from the Web for militate

Historical Examples of militate

  • Should he be restored to Rome, would it militate against thy plans?


    Edward Bulwer Lytton

  • This seems occasionally to militate against the clearness of the work.

    The Translations of Beowulf

    Chauncey Brewster Tinker

  • But their having been already in print will militate against them.

  • The fact did not militate against his own story, in the least.


    F. Marion Crawford

  • But there are circumstances that militate against this hypothesis.

British Dictionary definitions for militate


  1. (intr; usually foll by against or for) (of facts, actions, etc) to have influence or effectthe evidence militated against his release
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Derived Formsmilitation, noun

Word Origin for militate

C17: from Latin mīlitātus, from mīlitāre to be a soldier


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 militate


1620s, "to serve as a soldier" (now rare), from Latin militatum, past participle of militare "serve as a soldier," from miles "soldier" (see military (adj.)). Sense developed via "conflict with," to "be evidence" for or against (1640s). Related: Militated; militating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper