Share this entry

stimulus Line breaks: stimu|lus
Pronunciation: /ˈstɪmjʊləs/

Definition of stimulus in English:

noun (plural stimuli ˈstɪmjʊlʌɪˈstɪmjʊliː)

1A thing or event that evokes a specific functional reaction in an organ or tissue: areas of the brain which respond to auditory stimuli
More example sentences
  • They had slower reaction times for visual and auditory stimuli, as well as subtle chorea, dystonia, and nystagmus.
  • They are conditioned to respond to an auditory stimulus by, for example, dropping a block when a sound is heard through earphones.
  • The Tullio phenomenon represents vestibular symptoms and/or eye movements evoked by a sound stimulus.
1.1A thing that arouses activity or energy in someone or something; a spur or incentive: if the tax were abolished, it would act as a stimulus to exports
More example sentences
  • The present out and out secularism of the state could prove to be a stimulus to genuine ecumenism.
  • Also, if devaluation acts as a stimulus for growth in America this could have a positive knock-on effect in the rest of the world.
  • America's goods and services become cheaper abroad so it acts as a stimulus for the US economy.
provocation, goad, incitement
informal shot in the arm, kick up the backside
technical precipitant
1.2 [in singular] An interesting and exciting quality: she loved the stimulus of the job
More example sentences
  • You need non-partner stimulus from friends (or classes, or an engaging job or hobby).
  • In this age of constant stimulus, Larivière posits that we're more in love with the images of our partners than the people themselves.
  • It's not, I believe, the stress of their old job that kills them but the sudden withdrawal of mental stimulus.


Late 17th century: from Latin, 'goad, spur, incentive'.

Words that rhyme with stimulus


Definition of stimulus in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkɒnfɪdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...