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.

QUIZZES

TAKE THIS QUIZ TO SEE WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL PUNCTUATION!

Commas mark divisions in sentences. Periods end declarative sentences. Apostrophes show possession. Easy, right? Well, punctuation can get pretty tricky—fast. Think you got what it takes to be a punctuation expert? Take our quiz to prove it!
Question 1 of 10
Which of the options below is the best punctuation for the sentence? It__s your turn to pick the movie __ but your sister gets to pick the board game we _ re going to play.

Origin of stimulus

1605–15; < Latin: a goad

OTHER WORDS FROM stimulus

in·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. 2020

Example sentences 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

Medical 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.

Scientific 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.

Cultural 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.