• synonyms


[stim-yuh-luh nt]
See more synonyms for stimulant on Thesaurus.com
  1. Physiology, Medicine/Medical. something that temporarily quickens some vital process or the functional activity of some organ or part: Adrenalin is a stimulant for the heart.Compare depressant(def 4).
  2. any food or beverage that stimulates, especially coffee, tea, or, in its initial effect, alcoholic liquor.
  3. a stimulus or incentive.
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  1. Physiology, Medicine/Medical. temporarily quickening some vital process or functional activity.
  2. stimulating.
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Origin of stimulant

First recorded in 1720–30, stimulant is from the Latin word stimulant- (stem of stimulāns, present participle of stimulāre to goad). See stimulus, -ant
Related formsan·ti·stim·u·lant, adjective, nounnon·stim·u·lant, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for stimulant

stimulus, impetus, catalyst, drug, upper, tonic, incitement, spur, motivation, incentive, restorative, pick-me-up, motive, impulse, goad, incitation, bracer, excitant, analeptic, energizer

Examples from the Web for stimulant

Contemporary Examples of stimulant

Historical Examples of stimulant

  • That he had needed a stimulant that day was because he had been soured and would not try with his wits about him.


    W. A. Fraser

  • And the stimulant she found in the savage wooing of his unscrupulous rival.

  • It seemed as if every nerve was crying out for the stimulant which it was denied.

  • What impulse, what stimulant, what overmastering, driving necessity had they compared with his?

    Garrison's Finish

    W. B. M. Ferguson

  • Alcohol is not a stimulant, but is really a narcotic that is very depressing.

    Boy Scouts Handbook

    Boy Scouts of America

British Dictionary definitions for stimulant


  1. a drug or similar substance that increases physiological activity, esp of a particular organ
  2. any stimulating agent or thing
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  1. increasing physiological activity; stimulating
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Word Origin for stimulant

C18: from Latin stimulāns goading, from stimulāre to urge on; see stimulus
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 stimulant

1772 (adj.); 1794 (n.), from Latin stimulantem (nominative stimulans), present participle of stimulare (see stimulation).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stimulant in Medicine


  1. An agent that arouses organic activity, strengthens the action of the heart, increases vitality, and promotes a sense of well-being.
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  1. Serving as or being a stimulant.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

stimulant in Science


  1. An agent, especially a drug, that causes increased activity, especially of the nervous or cardiovascular systems. Caffeine is a commonly used stimulant.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.