Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To rouse to activity or heightened action, as by spurring or goading; excite. See Synonyms at provoke.
  • transitive v. To increase temporarily the activity of (a body organ or part).
  • transitive v. To excite or invigorate (a person, for example) with a stimulant.
  • intransitive v. To act or serve as a stimulant or stimulus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To encourage into action.
  • v. To arouse an organism to functional activity.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To excite as if with a goad; to excite, rouse, or animate, to action or more vigorous exertion by some pungent motive or by persuasion.
  • transitive v. To excite; to irritate; especially, to excite the activity of (a nerve or an irritable muscle), as by electricity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To prick; goad; excite, rouse, or animate to action or more vigorous exertion by some effective motive or by persuasion; spur on; incite.
  • In physiology, to quicken temporarily some functional or trophic process in.
  • Specifically, to affect by the use of intoxicating drinks.
  • Synonyms To encourage, impel, urge, instigate, provoke, whet, foment, kindle, stir up.
  • To act as a stimulus.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cause to do; cause to act in a specified manner
  • v. cause to occur rapidly
  • v. stir feelings in
  • v. act as a stimulant
  • v. cause to be alert and energetic
  • v. provide the needed stimulus for
  • v. stir the feelings, emotions, or peace of

Etymologies

Latin stimulāre, stimulāt-, to goad on, from stimulus, goad.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin stimulātus, perfect passive participle of stimulō ("goad on"), from Latin stimulus ("goad"). (Wiktionary)

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