AskDefine | Define stimulate

Dictionary Definition



1 act as a stimulant; "The book stimulated her imagination"; "This play stimulates" [syn: excite] [ant: stifle]
2 cause to do; cause to act in a specified manner; "The ads induced me to buy a VCR"; "My children finally got me to buy a computer"; "My wife made me buy a new sofa" [syn: induce, cause, have, get, make]
3 stir the feelings, emotions, or peace of; "These stories shook the community"; "the civil war shook the country" [syn: shake, shake up, excite, stir]
4 cause to be alert and energetic; "Coffee and tea stimulate me"; "This herbal infusion doesn't stimulate" [syn: arouse, brace, energize, energise, perk up] [ant: de-energize, de-energize, sedate]
5 cause to occur rapidly; "the infection precipitated a high fever and allergic reactions" [syn: induce, rush, hasten]
6 stir feelings in; "stimulate my appetite"; "excite the audience"; "stir emotions" [syn: excite, stir]
7 provide the needed stimulus for [syn: provoke]

User Contributed Dictionary



From stimulatus past participle of stimulo < stimulus.


  1. To encourage into action.
  2. To arouse an organism to functional activity.



to encourage into action
to arouse an organism to functional activity

Extensive Definition

Stimulation is the action of various agents (stimuli) on muscles, nerves, or a sensory end organ, by which activity is evoked; especially, the nervous impulse produced by various agents on nerves, or a sensory end organ, by which the part connected with the nerve is thrown into a state of activity.
The word is also often used metaphorically. For example, an interesting or fun activity can be described as "stimulating," regardless of its physical effects on nerves.
It is also used in simulation technology to describe a synthetically-produced signal that triggers (stimulates) real equipment, see below.


Stimulation in general refers to how organisms perceive incoming stimuli. As such it is part of the stimulus-response mechanism. Simple organisms broadly react in three ways to stimulation: too little stimulation causes them to stagnate, too much to die from stress or inability to adapt, and a medium amount causes them to adapt and grow as they overcome it. Similar categories or effect are noted with psychological stress with people. Thus, stimulation may be described as how external events provoke a response by an individual in the attempt to cope.
Use in Simulators and Simulation Technology Stimulation describes a type of simulation whereby artificially-generated signals are fed to real equipment in order to Stimulate it to produce the result required for training, maintenance or for R&D. The real equipment can be radar, sonics, instruments and so on. In some cases the Stimulation equipment can be carried in the real platform or carriage vehicle (that is the Ship, AFV or Aircraft) and be used for so-called `embedded training' during its operation, by the generation of simulated scenarios which can be dealt with in a realistic manner by use of the normal controls and displays. In the overall definition of simulation, the alternative method is called `emulation' which is the simulation of equipment by entirely artificial means by physical and software modelling


Psychologically, it is possible to become habituated to a degree of stimulation, and then find it uncomfortable to have significantly more or less. Thus one can become used to an intense life, or television, and suffer withdrawal when they are removed, from lack of stimulation, and it is possible to also be unhappy and stressed due to additional abnormal stimulation.
It is hypothesized and commonly believed by some that psychological habituation to a high level of stimulation ("over-stimulation") can lead to psychological problems. For example, some food additives can result in children becoming prone to over-stimulation, and ADHD is, theoretically, a condition in which over-stimulation is a part. It is also hypothesized that long term over stimulation can result eventually in a phenomenon called "adrenal exhaustion" over time, but this is not medically accepted or proven at this time.
What is sure is that ongoing, long term stimulation, can for some individuals prove harmful, and a more relaxed and less stimulated life may be beneficial. See also; sensory overload and burnout.
stimulate in French: Stimulation
stimulate in Macedonian: Нервен стимул

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

activate, actuate, affect the interest, animate, animating, arouse, attract, awaken, brace, brace up, bracing, bring forth, bring out, bring to light, brisk, brisken, buck up, call forth, call out, call up, cheer, chirk up, compel, concern, cultivate, deduce, derive, drag out, draw forth, draw out, dynamize, educe, electrify, elicit, encourage, energize, enliven, enlivening, evoke, excite, excite interest, exhilarate, exhilarating, exhilarative, fascinate, fillip, fire, force, fortify, foster, fresh up, freshen, freshen up, fuel, galvanize, get from, get out of, goad, hearten, impel, incite, increase, induce, inflame, infuse life into, inspire, inspiring, inspirit, interest, intoxicating, invigorate, invite, involve in, jazz up, jolt, kindle, lively, liven, make sensitive, motivate, move, move to action, nourish, obtain, pep up, perk up, pick up, pique, procure, promote, prompt, propel, provocative, provoke, quicken, quickening, reanimate, recreate, refine, refresh, refreshen, regale, reinvigorate, renew, resuscitate, revive, revivify, rouse, rousing, secure, seminal, sensibilize, sensitize, set in motion, set up, sharpen, snap up, spark, spirit up, spur, stimulating, stimulative, stir, stir up, stirring, suggestive, summon forth, summon up, tantalize, tickle, titillate, tonic, vitalize, vitalizing, vivify, wake up, waken, wangle, wangle out of, warm, whet, whip up, winkle out, worm out, worm out of, zip up
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