noun, plural stim·u·li [stim-yuh-lahy]. /ˈstɪm yəˌlaɪ/.
BEAT THE DOLDRUMS WITH THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!
Origin of stimulus
SYNONYMS FOR stimulus
OTHER WORDS FROM stimulusin·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.
Words nearby stimulus
What does stimulus mean?
In general, a stimulus is something that provokes or causes an action or response, as in Failing that test was the stimulus I needed to start studying harder.
The plural of stimulus is stimuli. Its verb form is stimulate, which typically means to spur into action or to invigorate.
In the context of science, a stimulus is anything that makes an organism or a part of an organism react in some way. For example, for most plants, sunlight acts as a stimulus that causes (stimulates) them to grow or move toward it.
In economics, a stimulus is an injection of money into an economy by a government that’s intended to spur (stimulate) economic growth. This can take many forms, such as giving money directly to citizens via stimulus checks. In this sense, stimulus is usually used in the singular, especially in phrases like economic stimulus, stimulus package, and stimulus plan.
Example: Congress has passed an unprecedented stimulus package in response to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the hopes of stimulating the economy at a time when so many people have lost income due to being out of work.
Where does stimulus come from?
The first records of stimulus come from the 1600s. It comes from the Latin word stimulus, meaning “cattle prod”—a sharp stick used to poke cattle to get them to keep moving. In a general sense, that’s what a stimulus does—it prods something into action. What that action is varies depending on the context.
Scientifically speaking, a stimulus is anything that produces a response in an organism or in a cell or tissue of an organism. Such stimuli can be internal or external. Internal stimuli come from inside an organism—pain and hunger are internal stimuli. In humans, an external stimulus is anything that’s detected by the senses—light, noises, things we feel on our skin. Parents are often told to avoid having newborn babies around too many stimuli (like bright lights and colors and music) at once so that they don’t become overstimulated (overwhelmed by all the sensory input). In psychology, the term stimulus is often used in the context of conditioned responses—like the famous example of Pavlov’s dogs salivating at the sound of a bell. In this case, one stimulus (the sound of the bell) became associated with another (the presentation of food).
An economic stimulus is a government’s attempt to jump-start an economy, usually when it’s in a recession (a lengthy downturn). The U.S. government’s stimulus plan in response to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, for example, ordered the distribution of stimulus payments in the form of stimulus checks to individual citizens with income under a certain level. The money from such checks is intended to serve as emergency financial relief in a time of high unemployment. But it’s also intended to help stimulate the economy by allowing (and encouraging) people to keep buying things. The hope is that more people buying things will allow more businesses to employ more people, which will boost economic recovery.
Not all stimulus measures involve sending money directly. The phrase stimulus package typically refers to a whole bundle of government policies meant to stimulate the economy in some way, including tax breaks, interest limits, and other actions, perhaps in addition to payments. During the recession in 2008, the U.S. government issued temporary tax cuts to certain households and businesses with the goal of economic stimulus.
The word bailout is sometimes associated with economic stimulus, but it has a narrower meaning. A bailout involves the government providing money to a company or institution that would fail or go bankrupt otherwise.
Stimulus can also be used in a more general way to refer to anything that acts as motivation or an incentive. For example, giving kids an allowance might be a stimulus to get them to do their chores.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to stimulus?
- stimuli (plural)
- interstimulus (noun)
- poststimulus (adjective)
- prestimulus (noun)
- understimulus (noun)
What are some synonyms for stimulus?
What are some words that share a root or word element with stimulus?
What are some words that often get used in discussing stimulus?
How is stimulus used in real life?
Stimulus is mostly used in a technical way in the contexts of science or finance, in which it has very different meanings.
Most ‘normal’ plants respond to certain stimuli in a characteristic way. For example, when plants are in shaded conditions, they will try to escape that shade, by investing all their resource in growing up as fast as possible – shading is a negative stimulus…
— Real Scientists | Ayanna (@realscientists) October 19, 2019
The $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package will send money directly to Americans and do much more. But how much can you expect to see — and when?
Here are some answers to your questions about the law. https://t.co/QFEAEfH7Ja
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 2, 2020
We learned through CrossFit that combining agony and laughter is a powerful stimulus for developing camaraderie. – Major Michael Perry
— CrossFit (@CrossFit) May 25, 2013
Try using stimulus!
In which of the following situations is the economic sense of stimulus MOST likely to be used?
A. a recession
B. a strong economy
C. a very brief economic downturn
D. a bull market
Example sentences from the Web for stimulus
Congress has stalled on compromising on another stimulus bill to help boost states, the unemployed, and small businesses, and a less expensive proposal by Republicans failed to pass a vote in the Senate on Thursday.Goldman Sachs just issued a very bullish projection for Q3 GDP|Anne Sraders|September 10, 2020|Fortune
The scaled back stimulus package does not include funding for a second round of $1,200 stimulus checks—a proposal that for months Republican and Democratic leaders supported.‘Skinny stimulus’: Senate to vote on $500 billion package. What it does and doesn’t include|Lance Lambert|September 9, 2020|Fortune
In Hangzhou, China, municipal authorities are working with Alibaba, headquartered there, to launch a digital-coupon stimulus program via the Alipay platform.
The second round of stimulus checks would cost around $290 billion—the price tag of the first round of stimulus checks.Congress likely to ax second round of stimulus checks, according to Goldman Sachs forecast|Lance Lambert|September 8, 2020|Fortune
With drills, you get the neuromuscular stimulus when the body is tired.
Supporters of the president argue these trends are inevitable and the Stimulus made a terrible situation better.
First, they let the stimulus boost expire, which that meant an average family of three receiving benefits lost $29 per month.
The stimulus, with its emphasis on public sector jobs, did little for Main Street.Dawn of the Age of Oligarchy: the Alliance between Government and the 1%|Joel Kotkin|June 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
And still—an auto-bailout, a health care bill, a stimulus, the regular lifting of the debt ceiling, defense and budget deals.‘Breaking Bad’ in the White House: Bryan Cranston as LBJ in 'All the Way'|David Freedlander|March 7, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Stripped of any stimulus, the expressions of this first group of people expose their true consciousness (theoretically, at least).
There is not first a stimulus, then perception, then response; these processes are supplementary, not separate.John Dewey's logical theory|Delton Thomas Howard
Thus the best workers were driven out of England, and a stimulus was given to the Dutch worsted manufacture.A Comprehensive History of Norwich|A. D. Bayne
I shall designate the stimulus below the minimal, as the sub-minimal.
Stimulus, on the other hand, induces precisely the opposite effect.
His apprehensions had all vanished under the stimulus of that tonic atmosphere.The Secret Trails|Charles G. D. Roberts
British Dictionary definitions for stimulus
noun plural -li (-ˌlaɪ, -ˌliː)
Word Origin for stimulus
Medical definitions for stimulus
n. pl. stim•u•li (-lī′)
Scientific definitions for stimulus
Plural stimuli (stĭm′yə-lī′)
Cultural definitions for stimulus
plur. stimuli (stim-yuh-leye)
An action, condition, or person that provokes a response, especially a conditioned response.