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

  • n. Something causing or regarded as causing a response.
  • n. An agent, action, or condition that elicits or accelerates a physiological or psychological activity or response.
  • n. Something that incites or rouses to action; an incentive: "Works which were in themselves poor have often proved a stimulus to the imagination” ( W.H. Auden).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. this sense?) Anything that may have an impact or influence on a system.
  • n. this sense?) (physiology) Something external that elicits or influences a physiological or psychological activity or response.
  • n. this sense?) (psychology) Anything effectively impinging upon any of the sensory apparatuses of a living organism, including physical phenomena both internal and external to the body.
  • n. this sense?) Anything that induces a person to take action.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A goad; hence, something that rouses the mind or spirits; an incentive.
  • n. That which excites or produces a temporary increase of vital action, either in the whole organism or in any of its parts; especially (Physiol.), any substance or agent capable of evoking the activity of a nerve or irritable muscle, or capable of producing an impression upon a sensory organ or more particularly upon its specific end organ.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Literally, a goad.
  • n. In botany, a sting: as, the nettle is furnished with stimuli.
  • n. The point at the end of a crozier, pastoral staff, precentor's staff, or the like.
  • n. Something that excites or rouses the mind or spirits; something that incites to action or exertion; an incitement or incentive.
  • n. In physiology, something which evokes some functional or trophic reaction in the tissues on which it acts.
  • n. In entomology, a stinging-hair.
  • n. The continuation in sense-organ, nerve, and brain of a process of stimulation externally initiated; the physiological excitation which is aroused by the action of an external stimulus.

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

  • n. any stimulating information or event; acts to arouse action


Latin, goad.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin stimulus ("goad, prick") (Wiktionary)



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