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

  • transitive verb To put into motion or action; activate.
  • transitive verb To cause to take action.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Put into action. South.
  • To put into action; move or incite to action: as, men are actuated by motives or passions.
  • To make actual or real; carry out; execute; perform.
  • Synonyms Actuate, Impel, Induce, Incite, Prompt, Instigate. (See impel.) To actuate is merely to call into action, without regard to the nature of the actuating force; but it is very commonly used of motives: as, the murderer was actuated by revenge.
  • Impel, to drive toward, is expressive of more passion, haste, urgency, necessity; hence it is coupled with words of corresponding kind, and when used with quieter words it gives them force: as, youth impelled him.
  • Induce, to lead toward, is gentler by as much as leading is gentler than driving; it implies the effort to persuade by presenting motives, but is also used where the persuasion is only figurative: as, I was at last induced to go; he was induced by my example.
  • Incite, prompt, instigate are used only when motives irrespective of physical force are the actuating power. Incite is weaker than impel and stronger than prompt; it expresses more eagerness than impel; it implies the urging of men toward the objects of kindled feelings and generally of strong desire. Prompt is more general in its meaning, depending upon its connection for force and limitation; it is often preferred for its brevity and breadth of application.
  • Instigate, to goad on, is sometimes, but erroneously, used of incitement to good; it should be used only where the urging is toward evil. It generally implies that such urging is underhand, although that fact is sometimes explicitly stated: he was (secretly) instigated to his perfidy.

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

  • adjective obsolete Put in action; actuated.
  • transitive verb To put into action or motion; to move or incite to action; to influence actively; to move as motives do; -- more commonly used of persons.
  • transitive verb obsolete To carry out in practice; to perform.

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

  • verb transitive To activate, or to put into motion; to animate.
  • verb transitive To incite to action; to motivate.

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

  • verb put in motion or move to act
  • verb give an incentive for action


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

[Medieval Latin āctuāre, āctuāt-, from Latin āctus, act; see act.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Medieval Latin āctuātus, perfect passive participle of āctuō ("actuate, implement"), from Latin āctus, perfect passive participle of agō ("do, act").


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  • Not only does he have excellent medical credentials but he fits what Obama wants in someone who has the ability to "actuate" change.

    NYT > Home Page 2009

  • What's worse, the Storm2's implementation requires a surprising amount of effort to actuate, meaning that long messages were a chore to type out -- not only do they wear out your fingers, but it gets old hearing the screen's loud "thunk" each and every time you type a letter, which we find considerably more noticeable than the traditional click of a physical QWERTY keyboard.

    Engadget 2009

  • Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other.

    Advice to Our Next President, From Our First President 2009

  • With this view, there is a definable limit to the information available in the known universe along with the number of "random" trials available to actuate complex objects such as life.

    Behe 2009

  • That message was that technology offered mankind the chance to actuate its potential.

    50 years of cyborgs Caspar Llewellyn Smith 2010

  • Since nonlinearities alone could actuate dissipation and decay in the conservation laws associated with the highly nonlinear radiation phase and since noninteracting expanding waves represent possible time-asymptotic wave patterns that could result, we propose to further investigate the possibility that these corrections to the Standard Model might be the source of the anomalous acceleration of the galaxies, an explanation not requiring the cosmological constant or dark energy.

    August 19th, 2009 m_francis 2009

  • The problem is the way you smoke the first one back – smokers actuate their dose.

    One-Player Game Theory 2009

  • A computer tethered to the bear for now, since e-bear is just a concept runs facial recognition software that can determine who you are, as well as your mood and actuate motors to move the bear's head, ears, mouth and eyelashes in an appropriate fashion.

    CES 2011: Fujitsu's teddy bear 'reads' your emotions (video) 2011

  • Numerous attempts to actuate the BOP have failed, MMS says.

    What's happening at the bottom of the Gulf? 2010

  • Note 48: Mazari tribespeople, whom preyed on vessels moving through the territory they inhabited on both banks of the Indus, also were identified as obstacles necessary to surmount in order to actuate the Mithenkote plan.

    Connecting Histories in Afghanistan: Market Relations and State Formation on a Colonial Frontier 2008


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