Definition of stimulus in English:



  • 1A thing or event that evokes a specific functional reaction in an organ or tissue.

    ‘areas of the brain which respond to auditory stimuli’
    • ‘In mice, one way to get around this problem is by engineering animals that can only respond to a given stimulus in a single cell type.’
    • ‘There may even be some spontaneous movement in response to stimuli such as loud noises or pain.’
    • ‘State anxiety is a transitory state, which occurs in response to a stimulus and is likely to vary in intensity as a function of the stimulus.’
    • ‘They are conditioned to respond to an auditory stimulus by, for example, dropping a block when a sound is heard through earphones.’
    • ‘However, the primary stimulus for cytokine secretion during cardiac illness remains unknown.’
    • ‘Pain perception begins at the receptor site that responds to damaging stimuli.’
    • ‘One explanation for this might be that athletes develop cutaneous blood vessels that respond more to vasodilatory stimuli.’
    • ‘However, reaction times to visual stimuli were faster after using a mobile phone.’
    • ‘The Tullio phenomenon represents vestibular symptoms and/or eye movements evoked by a sound stimulus.’
    • ‘In patients with primary sodium retention, the afferent stimuli are suppressed.’
    • ‘The sensation of respiratory symptoms has to exceed a certain threshold before a nociceptive stimulus is perceived.’
    • ‘Herein, we would like to add activating a topic receptor as a proapoptotic stimulus for its cells in the Table.’
    • ‘Local stimulation by distension along the body of the esophagus will elicit a peristaltic wave at the stimulus site.’
    • ‘A cascade of events must occur for the neurotransmitter stimulus to lead to cellular response.’
    • ‘They had slower reaction times for visual and auditory stimuli, as well as subtle chorea, dystonia, and nystagmus.’
    • ‘The neurogenic stimulus did not alter albumin exudation in any group.’
    • ‘The stimuli evoked pain in the control subjects and the patients with psoriasis.’
    • ‘The combination of visual and auditory stimuli is intriguing as well for the audience.’
    • ‘A number of studies suggest that arousal may be provoked by respiratory stimuli.’
    • ‘Many other animals have sense organs that can detect stimuli beyond the confines of the human senses.’
    1. 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’
      • ‘It was possible that the injection of cash into communities would raise the level of demand for basic commodities and could act as an economic stimulus.’
      • ‘And given the strength of the dollar, the US economy will not receive a stimulus from increased exports.’
      • ‘America's goods and services become cheaper abroad so it acts as a stimulus for the US economy.’
      • ‘It also acted as a stimulus for Britain to modernise her outdated Royal Air Force.’
      • ‘Other forms of export could also act as a stimulus for national economies.’
      • ‘Yet a powerful stimulus for the country's new leaders of all communities is the realisation that they must hang together if they are not to hang separately.’
      • ‘All of this will be billed as a stimulus package to boost economic growth.’
      • ‘A key factor in the second half, given the loss of fiscal stimulus and rising energy prices, will be consumer spending.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, the euro could also act as a stimulus for economic harmonization, and for the liberalization of labour and capital markets.’
      • ‘The present out and out secularism of the state could prove to be a stimulus to genuine ecumenism.’
      • ‘But the notion that the profit motive can adequately replace the public-service ethic as the stimulus for helping the old and sick is less than a joke.’
      • ‘She said a bid would provide a huge stimulus for elite sport and also boost efforts to encourage it at grassroots level.’
      • ‘A researcher at the university found that the medical event itself is a stimulus for patients to quit smoking.’
      • ‘A specific stimulus gets specific reactions and that's what he teaches his students to use on their horse.’
      • ‘Clearly it fuels an enormous boost in prestige for the country, gives a further stimulus to its strongly growing economy and plants the seal on its policies of reform and opening up.’
      • ‘It needs fresh conflict, drama, the torrent of social stimuli that rouses it to activity.’
      • ‘Together these monetary and fiscal stimuli will help to boost growth in the fourth quarter, he says.’
      • ‘The stimulus for the activity may be an important dinner party, a new boss to impress, or, in the case of professional chefs, a new book or television programme to fill.’
      • ‘The introduction of these two players acted as a positive stimulus for the home team and a stream of chances were created.’
      spur, stimulant, encouragement, impetus, boost, prompt, prod, incentive, inducement, inspiration, fillip
      motive, motivation, impulse
      provocation, goad, incitement
      shot in the arm, kick up the backside
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2[in singular]An interesting and exciting quality.
      ‘she loved the stimulus of the job’
      • ‘But in a way a big part of the stimulus of the job has been to be faced with repertoire that somebody else has chosen.’
      • ‘In this age of constant stimulus, Larivière posits that we're more in love with the images of our partners than the people themselves.’
      • ‘You need non-partner stimulus from friends (or classes, or an engaging job or hobby).’
      • ‘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.