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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.
Origin of stimulant
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for stimulant
  • Caffeine is well-known for its effect as a natural stimulant.
  • High inflation is not exactly a great stimulant to the economy, especially over prolonged term.
  • Ephedra was a popular stimulant until strokes and sudden deaths caused public alarm.
  • He had few takers until he began selling dietary supplements, some containing the powerful but unregulated stimulant ephedra.
  • Even though caffeine is safe in moderate amounts, it is a stimulant.
  • Already the stimulant effect of the fast is being experienced.
  • stimulant use can cause temporary thought disorder or intensify an underlying thought disorder or hypomanic state.
  • Ephedrine is a central-nervous- system stimulant but can be used as a decongestant.
  • stimulant medication does improve attention and positively affect school performance and self-esteem.
  • Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant made in clandestine laboratories nationwide.
British Dictionary definitions for stimulant


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 stimulant

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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stimulant 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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stimulant 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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