Definition of accelerate in English:



  • 1 (especially of a vehicle) begin to move more quickly.

    ‘the car accelerated towards her’
    • ‘She gazed back towards the bus stop as the East route vehicle accelerated away.’
    • ‘The vehicle accelerated in a sudden thrust, swerving about out of control.’
    • ‘From a standing start, the car accelerated smoothly and quickly.’
    • ‘Once the countdown reached zero the cart began to move, accelerating rather rapidly.’
    • ‘A unique feature of VTM - 4 is that it drives the rear wheels whenever the vehicle accelerates, even on dry pavement.’
    • ‘They watched as the silvery vehicle accelerated into the fast lane and then disappeared in a bright flash.’
    • ‘They heard the roar of the engines and squealing of tires as the cars accelerated quickly from Ottawa Street.’
    • ‘The airplane accelerates very quickly in the dive and when seen from the ground appears extremely fast.’
    • ‘Then the airplane starts accelerating rapidly and people begin panicking.’
    • ‘The test commenced with the vehicle accelerating under normal conditions from a standing position to the testing speed.’
    • ‘What the figures don't tell you, though, is just how quickly this little car accelerates in the midrange.’
    • ‘In Europe we talk about style and how fast a car accelerates.’
    • ‘The helpless ship accelerated for a few moments and then began to slow down, eventually coming to a standstill.’
    • ‘The vehicle accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in roughly 16 seconds.’
    • ‘I can't believe how fast these cars accelerate out of the corner.’
    • ‘The average F1 car can accelerate faster than most other race cars, aside from drag racing and rally cars that is.’
    • ‘The Escort accelerated towards Glasgow, and as the midnight traffic dwindled, the hitcher knew the game was up.’
    • ‘Amazingly both cars are as fast as each other, with the diesel car accelerating just a bit quicker than the petrol.’
    • ‘My bike accelerates faster, though, and it's a lot more agile, and I have a clear picture in my head of the city grid for this section and a feel for the traffic rhythms.’
    • ‘As the ship accelerated, chunks of the back end began to fly off and disintegrate.’
    1. 1.1Increase in rate, amount, or extent.
      ‘inflation started to accelerate’
      [with object] ‘the key question is whether stress accelerates ageing’
      • ‘As you can see, not only is the total increasing, the rate of that increase also has been accelerating steadily for the past three years.’
      • ‘All of the northern regions of England and Wales showed prices rising, with the pace of increase accelerating in Yorkshire and the Humber for the first time since last October.’
      • ‘It's more of the same only faster and faster because the future's now coming at the speed of light and change is accelerating at an exponential rate.’
      • ‘The need for water investment keeps inexorably increasing and tends to accelerate as the deterioration of these systems advance.’
      • ‘Ponting and Martyn settled in after tea to appear increasingly comfortable, with the scoring rate accelerating in direct comparison with the perceived comfort of the batsmen.’
      • ‘Throughout 2003 the monthly increases in the unemployment rate accelerated and the average number of hours worked declined.’
      • ‘It may not have the highest percentage of population infected, but, frighteningly and tragically, its rate of increase is accelerating.’
      • ‘These adverse inflationary monetary events are accelerating and can only increase the weight bearing down on the MCDI.’
      • ‘The rate of advance of biotech is likely to accelerate to such an extent that many people who are alive right now will live to see aging become at first partially reversible.’
      • ‘If the economy improves, inflation accelerates and interest rates rise, your Savings Bond rates will go up, too.’
      • ‘The government wants to halt this trend, which is accelerating at an alarming rate, and is calling on employers to give the 50-plus age - group a fair chance of employment right up to retirement.’
      • ‘If they rise because economic growth appears to be accelerating, the increase will be harmless.’
      • ‘But it still leaves unexplained why the rate of house price increases should be accelerating at all, and how reliable and sustainable this acceleration is.’
      • ‘Within the core CPI, shelter costs are accelerating at an alarming rate, rising 0.5 percent in May and June.’
      • ‘This contribution is expected to increase as melting rates accelerate, though ultimately the added runoff is predicted to disappear as glaciers decline many decades from now.’
      • ‘Then, Spinella says, the shift into hybrids and smaller vehicles would accelerate.’
      • ‘The shifting of language in communities may in fact be accelerating with increased mobility and technological advances.’
      • ‘Biotechnology will continue to advance and its rate of advance will accelerate.’
      • ‘Cable operators and other carriers are adopting DWDM at a slower rate - a rate that is accelerating, but nowhere near the activity of the telcos.’
      • ‘Observations of change over the past century indicate that technology is evolving exponentially, which means change is accelerating or the rate of change is increasing.’
      increase, rise, go up, advance, leap, surge, speed up, escalate, spiral, get worse
      hasten, expedite, precipitate, speed, speed up, hurry up, make faster, step up, advance, further, forward, promote, boost, give a boost to, stimulate, spur on
      speed up, hurry up, get faster, move faster, go faster, drive faster, get a move on, put on a spurt, open it up, gain momentum, increase speed, pick up speed, gather speed
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Physics Undergo a change in velocity.
      ‘an accelerating electron radiates off some of its energy’
      • ‘Most of the energy invested in accelerating the electrons is recouped in the cavities as the returning beam decelerates.’
      • ‘This action causes the solar atmosphere to sizzle with high-energy X-rays and gamma rays and accelerate proton and electron particles into the solar system.’
      • ‘X rays emerge when the electrons, accelerated by a strong electric field, slam into a tungsten target.’
      • ‘Why is it easier to accelerate an electron to a speed that is close to the speed of light, compared to accelerating a proton to the same speed?’
      • ‘These electrons are further accelerated to strike a fluorescent screen, where the effects can easily be seen by the eyes.’
      • ‘Most of the northern lights we see originate in the electrons accelerated into the ionosphere.’
      • ‘In this model the gamma rays are emitted as synchrotron radiation by electrons that are accelerated to much lower energies.’
      • ‘A sufficiently strong electric field can further accelerate these electrons.’
      • ‘The synchrotron can accelerate electrons from a mere walking pace up to almost the speed of light.’
      • ‘These electrons accelerate in the electric field of the wake.’
      • ‘The source is a gyrotron, a device that accelerates electrons through a strong magnetic field to produce microwaves.’
      • ‘In a strong electric field, free electrons can be accelerated onto its inner surface.’
      • ‘According to Al Smith, much current research is focused on the use of lasers to accelerate protons, rather than using existing cyclotron and synchrotron sources.’
      • ‘Imaging systems for EPL incorporate accelerated electron beams and require high-sensitivity resists.’
      • ‘These electrons are then accelerated by a static electric field towards a fluorescent screen.’
      • ‘These forces of attraction and repulsion provide a kind of ‘kick’ that accelerates the electron in a forward direction.’
      • ‘The principle of the cyclotron fails as particles accelerate close to the speed of light.’
      • ‘The electron beam gun emits electrons, accelerates the beam of electrons, and focuses it on the work piece.’
      • ‘An ECR produces ions by first accelerating electrons.’
      • ‘Why is that electrons radiate electromagnetic energy when they are accelerated?’


Early 16th century (in the sense ‘hasten the occurrence of’): from Latin accelerat- hastened, from the verb accelerare, from ad- towards + celer swift.