Word of the Day – Galvanize

Word of the Day : December 3, 2021


verb GAL-vuh-nyze

What it Means

Galvanize means “to cause (people) to take action on something that they are excited or concerned about.”

// The council’s proposal to close the library has galvanized the town’s residents.

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“I think circumstances we’ve been through helped get us to this point. Whether it is the natural disaster, the pandemic or some of the tough losses … all of it helped galvanize this team.” — Dwain Jenkins, quoted in The Advocate (Louisiana), 19 Oct. 2021

Luigi Galvani was an Italian physician and physicist who, in the 1770s, studied the electrical nature of nerve impulses by applying electrical stimulation to frogs’ leg muscles, causing them to contract. Although Galvani’s theory that animal tissue contained an innate electrical impulse was disproven, the French word galvanisme came to describe a current of electricity especially when produced by chemical action. English borrowed the word as galvanism, and shortly after the verb galvanize came to life.