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

  • adj. Endowed with the power of speech.
  • adj. Composed of distinct, meaningful syllables or words, as human speech.
  • adj. Expressing oneself easily in clear and effective language: an articulate speaker.
  • adj. Characterized by the use of clear, expressive language: an articulate essay.
  • adj. Anatomy Consisting of sections united by joints; jointed.
  • transitive v. To pronounce distinctly and carefully; enunciate.
  • transitive v. To utter (a speech sound) by making the necessary movements of the speech organs.
  • transitive v. To express in coherent verbal form; give words to: couldn't articulate my fears.
  • transitive v. To fit together into a coherent whole; unify: a plan to articulate nursing programs throughout the state.
  • transitive v. Anatomy To unite by forming a joint or joints.
  • transitive v. Architecture To give visible or concrete expression to (the composition of structural elements): a spare design in which windows and doors are barely articulated.
  • intransitive v. To speak clearly and distinctly.
  • intransitive v. To utter a speech sound.
  • intransitive v. Anatomy To form a joint; be jointed: The thighbone articulates with the bones of the hip.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. One of the Articulata.

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

  • v. speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way
  • adj. consisting of segments held together by joints
  • adj. expressing yourself easily or characterized by clear expressive language
  • v. unite by forming a joint or joints
  • v. put into words or an expression
  • v. express or state clearly
  • v. provide with a joint


Latin articulātus, past participle of articulāre, to divide into joints, utter distinctly, from articulus, small joint; see article.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin articulātus (Wiktionary)
From the adjective. (Wiktionary)



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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