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[ak-choo-eyt] /ˈæk tʃuˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), actuated, actuating.
to incite or move to action; impel; motivate:
actuated by selfish motives.
to put into action; start a process; turn on:
to actuate a machine.
Origin of actuate
1590-1600; < Medieval Latin āctuāt(us) reduced to action (past participle of āctuāre), equivalent to Latin āctu(s) (see act) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
actuation, noun
deactuate, verb (used with object), deactuated, deactuating.
self-actuating, adjective
unactuated, adjective
Can be confused
activate, actuate, stimulate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for actuate
  • The variable intermittent windshield wipers actuate automatically when raindrops are sensed.
  • The available variable intermittent windshield wipers actuate automatically when raindrops are sensed.
  • actuate all sorts of buzzing and beeping things as you walk by.
  • The high boom switch also failed to actuate the automatic shut-off valve.
  • The two orthogonal sets of comb drives actuate the output gear through a set of linkages.
  • Provide pressure sensitive alarm switch to actuate the fire alarm system.
  • Calls shall register with nursing staff and shall actuate a visible signal in the corridor at the patients' door.
  • The irrigators may actuate your valve by using a small step ladder to reach over a wall or fence from the alleyway.
  • Hydraulic fluid is used to actuate valves that allow steam to be transmitted to the turbine for the generation of electricity.
  • actuate the alternately flashing signal system by hand or foot control.
British Dictionary definitions for actuate


verb (transitive)
to put into action or mechanical motion
to motivate or incite into action: actuated by unworthy desires
Derived Forms
actuation, noun
actuator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin actuātus, from actuāre to incite to action, from Latin āctusact
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 actuate

1590s, from Medieval Latin actuatus, past participle of actuare, from Latin actus (see act (n.)). Related: Actuated; actuating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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