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activate

[ak-tuh-veyt] /ˈæk təˌveɪt/
verb (used with object), activated, activating.
1.
to make active; cause to function or act.
2.
Physics.
  1. to render more reactive; excite:
    to activate a molecule.
  2. to induce radioactivity.
3.
to aerate (sewage) in order to accelerate decomposition of impure organic matter by microorganisms.
4.
Chemistry.
  1. to make (carbon, a catalyst, molecules, etc.) more active.
  2. to hasten (reactions) by various means, as heating.
5.
to place (a military unit or station) on an active status in an assigned capacity.
Origin of activate
1620-1630
1620-30; active + -ate1
Related forms
activation, noun
nonactivation, noun
overactivate, verb (used with object), overactivated, overactivating.
superactivate, verb (used with object), superactivated, superactivating.
unactivated, adjective
Can be confused
activate, actuate, stimulate.
Synonyms
1. actuate, start, turn on, set going.
Antonyms
1. stop, halt, check.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for activate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It could be induced to go into action and to activate the other plasmoids.

    Legacy James H Schmitz
  • The males are few in number and lack the power to activate the disks.

    Storm Over Warlock Andre Norton
  • It seemed to activate some hidden response in her, for she glowed with tenderness.

    Martians Never Die Lucius Daniel
  • Furiously, he tried to summon some tiny bit of energy to activate the distorter.

    The Weakling Everett B. Cole
  • A neutron moderator slows down the neutrons and thus makes them more likely to activate the calcium in the bones.

    The Atomic Fingerprint Bernard Keisch
British Dictionary definitions for activate

activate

/ˈæktɪˌveɪt/
verb (transitive)
1.
to make active or capable of action
2.
(physics) to make radioactive
3.
(chem)
  1. to increase the rate of (a reaction)
  2. to treat (a substance, such as carbon or alumina) so as to increase powers of adsorption
4.
(physiol) to prepare by arousal (the body or one of its organs (e.g. the brain)) for action
5.
to purify (sewage) by aeration
6.
(US, military) to create, mobilize, or organize (a unit)
Derived Forms
activation, noun
activator, noun
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 activate
v.

1620s; see active + -ate (2). Related: Activated; activating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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