Definition of stimulus in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈstɪmjʊləs/

noun (plural stimuli /ˈstɪmjʊlʌɪ/ /ˈstɪmjʊliː/)

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.
spur, stimulant, encouragement, impetus, boost, prompt, prod, incentive, inducement, inspiration, fillip;
motive, motivation, impulse;
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


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: stimu|lus

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