Definition of actuate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈak(t)SHəˌwāt/


1 [with object] Cause (a machine or device) to operate: the pendulum actuates an electrical switch
More example sentences
  • This circuit prevents the operator from actuating the tool except when both hands are on the throttle levers.
  • The moving cantilever can actuate another device or move a cam or wheel to generate rotary motion.
  • Pilot controls consisted of dual wheel yokes and the landing gear was extended and retracted by a hydraulic pump actuated by a hand lever.
2 (usually be actuated) Cause (someone) to act in a particular way; motivate: the defendants were actuated by malice
More example sentences
  • On appeal to the Court of Appeal, the defendant successfully argued that his belief that everything he said was true made it impossible as a matter of law to find that he was actuated by malice.
  • That he served with Kennedy's example in mind indicates he was actuated more by self-aggrandisement than altruism.
  • Here I want to clear one thing, that it is not vanity that has actuated me to adopt the doctrines of atheism.



Pronunciation: /ˌak(t)SHəˈwāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • After initiating brake actuation, the aircraft yawed to the right, and he ceased braking action to analyze the situation.
  • A number of other options are coming down the line, including voice actuation of some of the ancillary controls, mostly communication-related.
  • One and four actuations of each inhaler were evaluated.


Pronunciation: /-ˈātər/
Example sentences
  • The 1 million-pound project is powered by electronic actuators, ensuring that visitors' experiences are as authentic as possible, as the motion follows the action on the screen.
  • The new simulator recreates the speed and force of an explosive shock wave using computer-controlled hydraulic actuators.
  • At the same time, the control system instantaneously commands the servos in the joint actuators to relax slightly.


Late 16th century: from medieval Latin actuat- 'carried out, caused to operate', from the verb actuare, from Latin actus (see act). The original sense was 'carry out in practice', later 'stir into activity, enliven'; sense 1 dates from the mid 17th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ac·tu·ate

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