stimulus

[ stim-yuh-luhs ]
/ ˈstɪm yə ləs /

noun, plural stim·u·li [stim-yuh-lahy] /ˈstɪm yəˌlaɪ/.

something that incites to action or exertion or quickens action, feeling, thought, etc.: The approval of others is a potent stimulus.
Physiology, Medicine/Medical. something that excites an organism or part to functional activity.

Nearby words

  1. stimulated emission,
  2. stimulating,
  3. stimulation,
  4. stimulative,
  5. stimulator,
  6. stimulus generalization,
  7. stimulus sensitive myoclonus,
  8. stimy,
  9. stine,
  10. sting

Origin of stimulus

1605–15; < Latin: a goad

Related formsin·ter·stim·u·lus, noun, plural in·ter·stim·u·li.post·stim·u·lus, adjectivepre·stim·u·lus, noun, plural pre·stim·u·li.un·der·stim·u·lus, noun, plural un·der·stim·u·li.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stimulus


British Dictionary definitions for stimulus

stimulus

/ (ˈstɪmjʊləs) /

noun plural -li (-ˌlaɪ, -ˌliː)

something that stimulates or acts as an incentive
any drug, agent, electrical impulse, or other factor able to cause a response in an organism
an object or event that is apprehended by the senses
med a former name for stimulant

Word Origin for stimulus

C17: from Latin: a cattle goad

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 stimulus

stimulus

n.

plural stimuli, 1680s, originally as a medical term, "something that goads a lazy organ" (often the male member), from Modern Latin stimulus "goad" (see stimulation). General sense is from 1791. Psychological sense is first recorded 1894.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for stimulus

stimulus

[ stĭmyə-ləs ]

n. pl. stim•u•li (-lī′)

A stimulant.
That which can elicit or evoke an action or response in a cell, an excitable tissue, or an organism.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for stimulus

stimulus

[ stĭmyə-ləs ]

Plural stimuli (stĭmyə-lī′)

Physiology Something that can elicit or evoke a physiological response in a cell, a tissue, or an organism. A stimulus can be internal or external. Sense organs, such as the ear, and sensory receptors, such as those in the skin, are sensitive to external stimuli such as sound and touch.
Something that has an impact or an effect on an organism so that its behavior is modified in a detectable way. See more at classical conditioning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for stimulus

stimulus

plur. stimuli (stim-yuh-leye)

An action, condition, or person that provokes a response, especially a conditioned response.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.