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[stim-yuh-luh nt] /ˈstɪm yə lənt/
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.
any food or beverage that stimulates, especially coffee, tea, or, in its initial effect, alcoholic liquor.
a stimulus or incentive.
Physiology, Medicine/Medical. temporarily quickening some vital process or functional activity.
Compare depressant.
1720-30; < Latin stimulant- (stem of stimulāns, present participle of stimulāre to goad). See stimulus, -ant
Related forms
antistimulant, adjective, noun
nonstimulant, noun, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for stimulants
  • There are many stimulants that increase short term physical performance.
  • The more complex one sees the world the more the brain is used the less time for simple pleasures, simple stimulants.
  • In times of war, coffee has proved more valuable than alcoholic stimulants to keep up the enduring power of soldiers.
  • Others contend that were the relatively innocuous marijuana legal, fewer would reach for the ill-understood synthetic stimulants.
  • Weaning the world economy off fiscal and monetary stimulants will take many years.
  • World production of amphetamines and similar stimulants appears to be steady.
  • The process of getting off stimulants is really horrible.
  • Over-the-counter drugs should be taken with caution, especially those that contain stimulants or a medicine called theophylline.
  • Avoid long-term use of tranquilizers, as well as caffeine and other stimulants.
  • It is much less likely to be abused than other stimulants.
British Dictionary definitions for stimulants


a drug or similar substance that increases physiological activity, esp of a particular organ
any stimulating agent or thing
increasing physiological activity; stimulating
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for stimulants


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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stimulants in Medicine

stimulant stim·u·lant (stĭm'yə-lənt)
An agent that arouses organic activity, strengthens the action of the heart, increases vitality, and promotes a sense of well-being. adj.
Serving as or being a stimulant.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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stimulants in Science
An agent, especially a drug, that causes increased activity, especially of the nervous or cardiovascular systems. Caffeine is a commonly used stimulant.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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