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for Saturday, 21 September 2019

galvanize

verb (used with object) [gal-vuh-nahyz]

to startle into sudden activity; stimulate.

What is the origin of galvanize?

The English verb galvanize comes from the French verb galvaniser “to make muscles contract by application of electrical current,” a discovery made by the Italian physiologist Luigi Galvani in 1780, when an assistant touched the exposed sciatic nerve of a dead frog with a metal scalpel that had picked up a charge, which made the dead frog's leg kick as if alive. Galvanize in its physiological sense entered English in the early 19th century; the figurative sense “to startle into sudden activity” dates to the mid-19th century.

How is galvanize used?

The presence of the enemy seemed to galvanize the growers, underscoring the subtext of Elliot's message: that their industry was under attack, and they needed D&W's crisis-management services. Ruth Ozeki, All Over Creation, 2003

... [Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis] looms as just barely premodern, even though she presided over the start of (and maybe even helped galvanize) the most turbulent social transformation in recent history. Roger D. Friedman, Michael Hirschorn, Belinda Luscombe, Rebecca Mead, Melissa Morgan, Nancy Jo Sales, and Whitney Scott, "Her Friends Remember Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis," New York, May 30, 1994

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Last updated: 20 September 2019

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