from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Composed of distinct, meaningful syllables or words.
  • adjective Expressing oneself easily in clear and effective language.
  • adjective Characterized by the use of clear, expressive language.
  • adjective Having the power of speech.
  • adjective Biology Consisting of sections united by joints; jointed.
  • intransitive verb To pronounce distinctly and carefully; enunciate.
  • intransitive verb To utter (a speech sound) by making the necessary movements of the speech organs.
  • intransitive verb To express in coherent verbal form.
  • intransitive verb To fit together into a coherent whole; unify.
  • intransitive verb To convert (a student's credits at one school) to credits at another school by comparing the curricula.
  • intransitive verb Biology To unite by forming a joint or joints.
  • intransitive verb Architecture To give visible or concrete expression to (the composition of structural elements).
  • intransitive verb To speak clearly and distinctly.
  • intransitive verb To utter a speech sound.
  • intransitive verb Biology To form a joint; be jointed.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To joint; unite by means of a joint: as, two pieces loosely articulated together. See articulation, 2.
  • To utter articulately; produce after the manner of human speech.
  • To utter in distinct syllables or words.
  • To formulate or set forth in articles; draw up or state under separate heads.
  • Synonyms and Pronounce, Enunciate, etc. (see utter); speak.
  • To form an articulation (with); connect (with): as, the ulna articulates with the humerus.
  • To utter articulate sounds; utter distinct syllables or words: as, to articulate distinctly.
  • To enter into negotiations; treat; come to or make terms.
  • Jointed; segmented; articulated: as, an articulate limb; an articulate animal.
  • Specifically, having the character of the Articulata.
  • Jointed by syllabic division; divided into distinct successive parts, like joints, by the alternation of opener and closer sounds, or the intervention of consonantal utterances (sometimes also of pause or hiatus) between vowel sounds: said of human speech-utterance, as distinguished from other sounds made by human organs, and from the sounds made by the lower animals.
  • Hence Clear; distinct.
  • Formulated or expressed in articles, or in separate particulars.
  • Consisting of tens: as, articulate numbers.
  • noun One of the Articulata.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) An animal of the subkingdom Articulata.
  • adjective Archaic Expressed in articles or in separate items or particulars.
  • adjective Jointed; formed with joints; consisting of segments united by joints.
  • adjective Distinctly uttered; spoken so as to be intelligible; characterized by division into words and syllables.
  • intransitive verb To utter articulate sounds; to utter the elementary sounds of a language; to enunciate; to speak distinctly.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To treat or make terms.
  • intransitive verb To join or be connected by articulation.
  • transitive verb To joint; to unite by means of a joint; to put together with joints or at the joints.
  • transitive verb obsolete To draw up or write in separate articles; to particularize; to specify.
  • transitive verb To form, as the elementary sounds; to utter in distinct syllables or words; to enunciate.
  • transitive verb To express distinctly; to give utterance to.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective clear, effective
  • adjective especially, speaking in a clear or effective manner
  • adjective able to bend or hinge at certain points or intervals
  • verb To make clear or effective.
  • verb To speak clearly; to enunciate.
  • verb To explain; to put into words; to make something specific.
  • verb To bend or hinge something at intervals, or to allow or build something so that it can bend.
  • verb music to attack a note, as by tonguing, slurring, bowing, etc.
  • verb anatomy to form a joint or connect by joints


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin articulātus, past participle of articulāre, to divide into joints, utter distinctly, from articulus, small joint; see article.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin articulātus

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the adjective.


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  • American Heritage and Oxford American seem to be out front with the verb use of "articulate" as fitting things together to make a whole (AH definition No. 9). The usage I've been coming across is higher-ed jargon for making sure community college programs jibe with four-year college programs for seamless transition, similar to the anatomical use, to form a joint (AH definition No. 14 and New Oxford American No.2). "Articulation agreement" gets 147,000 hits in a Google search. As defined by City College of Chicago: "An articulation agreement is a formal agreement between institutions that allows credits earned in specific programs at the City Colleges to be applied towards direct entry or advanced standing at another institution." Also: "Utica College agrees to articulate with Herkimer County Community. College by providing ... ."

    July 5, 2009