Definition of communicate in US English:



[no object]
  • 1Share or exchange information, news, or ideas.

    ‘the prisoner was forbidden to communicate with his family’
    • ‘Neither system could communicate with or share operating information with the other.’
    • ‘In the month I was trekking, I was in unable to communicate with the outside world, and no news got to me.’
    • ‘They rely on hand signals and radios to communicate with the engineer.’
    • ‘Overall, then, the Internet is becoming a key means by which Canadians obtain information and communicate with one another.’
    • ‘As a community, we lack in resources for women to share or communicate with one another.’
    • ‘We have to be there for them, be willing to communicate with them and meet their needs.’
    • ‘Don't forget to communicate with employees about how changes in procedures can benefit everyone.’
    • ‘People tend to associate and communicate with those who share their viewpoints.’
    • ‘The idea being that I would have to communicate with the shop assistant which bread I want and that I wanted her to cut the full loaf in half.’
    • ‘We use e-mail to communicate and exchange information.’
    • ‘It is much easier for politicians to use mass communication - to sit in a TV or radio studio and communicate with millions of people at once.’
    • ‘Wood goes on to describe how the review helped him learn to better communicate with his 12 employees so that the operation will flow more smoothly.’
    • ‘The instructor was patient, and used a radio microphone in his helmet to communicate with a group of three students.’
    • ‘I put them in touch with a doctor, find them information, try to help them communicate with their families back home and introduce them to people who have come from the same area.’
    • ‘It said that the radio system is inadequate meaning ambulance crews can't always communicate with the control centre in an emergency.’
    • ‘It's too bad that private businesses don't know how to communicate with their employees, especially the ones that are in business already.’
    • ‘They had their radio out trying to communicate with us, unfortunately it wasn't working.’
    • ‘The participants can then communicate with their European counterparts, exchanging stories and gathering new ideas for future ventures.’
    • ‘Its not fair on the relatives to come and visit you and you can't even communicate with them.’
    • ‘The pilot used his emergency radio to communicate with the aeroplane flying overhead.’
    liaise, be in touch, be in contact, be in communication, make contact, have dealings, interface, commune, meet, meet up
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    1. 1.1with object Impart or pass on (information, news, or ideas)
      ‘he communicated his findings to the inspector’
      • ‘Mary Ellen Thomas, for example, found a unique way of communicating the idea that she's a candidate with a heart, and a strong social conscience.’
      • ‘Recommendations will be given on approaches to communicate sensitive information to surgeons.’
      • ‘Among the many reasons for writing letters are communicating good news and, alas, bad news.’
      • ‘One primary purpose of the record is to communicate patient information to the next caregiver.’
      • ‘But it taught me how to communicate ideas quickly and tailor information to an audience.’
      • ‘Abundant data are provided on each topic, and excellent graphics communicate information at a glance.’
      • ‘Good writers are particularly skilled in doing that, crafting words that not only communicate the information, but do it in a way that makes it interesting and even entertaining.’
      • ‘The media have always been and will continue to be the most important tool for communicating ideas and educating the public about ongoing problems.’
      • ‘First, corporations have more money, and thereby more means of communicating their ideas to a large number of people.’
      • ‘In generating sales through good information or communicating internal news and directives, the newsletter has no peer.’
      • ‘The job is to try to communicate facts and factual information about these issues.’
      • ‘He was charged with communicating false information about a bomb hoax.’
      • ‘Interns learn to communicate their ideas with both scientists and their peers.’
      • ‘There is no evidence that any of this information was ever communicated to anyone in the organization.’
      • ‘Ultimately, I believe, the work fails because it does not communicate new information.’
      • ‘Web navigation is designed to structure and communicate information about how to find different information.’
      • ‘Ms Sceats, who was working as a waitress in London during a break from travelling, denies communicating false information with intent.’
      • ‘Ramsey said the foundation members were also looking for someone who could think creatively and communicate ideas.’
      • ‘The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand is essential for most academic endeavors in a graduate program.’
      • ‘Then came radio and in no time at all it became ruler supreme because not only did it communicate information but it also provided entertainment.’
      convey, tell, impart, relay, transmit, pass on, hand on, transfer, make known, announce, report, recount, relate, set forth, present, divulge, disclose, mention
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    2. 1.2with object Convey or transmit (an emotion or feeling) in a nonverbal way.
      ‘the ability of good teachers to communicate their own enthusiasm’
      ‘his sudden fear communicated itself’
      • ‘It was almost as if through the silence they communicated their emotions.’
      • ‘It was unfortunate that the teacher's fear communicated itself to the children.’
      • ‘Souza's work communicates a fear and hatred of the practice and symbols of a religion that fascinate and revolt him in turn.’
      • ‘I'm sure this has helped me in my personal quest to shoot meaningful underwater photographs that I hope communicate the emotions I feel when I'm diving.’
      • ‘But the real heart of most advertising messages conveys information or communicates a feeling about the product or service being advertised.’
      • ‘What matters is whether you have a way to communicate the true feelings that you have.’
      • ‘His face is simultaneously expressionless and expressive, his eyes communicating deep emotion and intelligence.’
      • ‘They place value on whether they have been successful in communicating their feelings, in conveying their message, on seeing that others understand them.’
      • ‘But a new study suggests that body posture may be as important as the face in communicating emotions such as fear.’
      • ‘He views painting as a way to communicate his emotions and experiences in an immediate and powerful manner.’
      • ‘Be it a street play, a hard day's labour in the fields or popular films, songs are a part of Indian life and communicate the inner feelings.’
      • ‘An artist uses his work to communicate his feelings, emotions and understanding of a situation.’
      • ‘He communicated genuine sorrow and compassion.’
      • ‘Unable to speak, Ben communicates his feelings with his eyes.’
      • ‘He used this expressionist approach to communicate his emotions.’
      • ‘Some parents might be annoyed and resentful of having to coordinate peer assignments and communicate these feelings to their child.’
      • ‘He believes teachers must communicate their passion about their art to their students.’
      • ‘There is something special that happens whenever actors get to communicate emotion through song and dance.’
      • ‘He was a born teacher who had a seemingly insatiable desire to communicate his enthusiasm for mathematics.’
      • ‘His piercing eyes and body language communicated the frustration and anger of young urban males in an extremely convincing way.’
    3. 1.3 Succeed in conveying one's ideas or in evoking understanding in others.
      ‘a politician must have the ability to communicate’
      • ‘Sitting at a lunch counter or staging a press conference are not conventional, but they succeeded in communicating to an audience that was not willing to listen.’
      • ‘He doesn't have the ability to communicate very well.’
      • ‘Without the ability to communicate efficiently, individual effectiveness in presenting our ideas will inevitably be reduced.’
      • ‘In doing so, he communicated more pure emotional understanding than anyone else who took the stage that day.’
      • ‘Judges looked for innovative and creative concepts, strong executions and the ability to communicate and persuade.’
      • ‘It is worthwhile for the benefits it can bring with increased interest in learning, fuller cultural identity and awareness, and better ability to communicate together.’
      • ‘They do not have the ability to communicate how sick they are.’
      • ‘Other important criteria would be a clean track record, transparency, accountability, and the ability to communicate, he added.’
      • ‘None of them is able to communicate with each other; they are indeed strangers talking.’
      • ‘Instead, everybody must be responsible and be able to communicate with each other.’
      • ‘The key to its success may have been its ability to communicate efficiently and hence spread quickly, he says.’
      • ‘She had an ability to communicate and to understand exactly what heads and teachers needed that was second to none.’
      • ‘His ability to communicate and articulate his discussions has improved to the point that he is truly a joy to sit down with and talk about almost anything.’
      • ‘Whether the Harvard folk are right or wrong to treat their leader the way they did, Summers surely could have done a better job of understanding and communicating with the people he meant to lead.’
      • ‘It is, in short, the ability to communicate, and it will get you a very long way in politics.’
      • ‘The progress of different countries and communities, their businesses and institutions is built on the ability to communicate effectively with one another and their wider audiences.’
      • ‘They develop their ability to communicate and express their ideas and opinions in a productive and appropriate way.’
      • ‘Radio has to have the emotion, has to have the ability to communicate.’
      • ‘His greatest gift was his ability to communicate, and he always conveyed a sense of optimism about his country and its people.’
      • ‘We are hoping to be able to communicate in a way young people can really understand and relate to.’
      get one's ideas across, get one's message across, make oneself understood, explain oneself, get through to someone, have one's say
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    4. 1.4 (of two people) be able to share and understand each other's thoughts and feelings.
      • ‘We are communicating and understanding one another.’
      • ‘Once you both have a clearer understanding of how you can communicate more effectively with each other, you will find it easier next time.’
      • ‘I'd like to talk more with my Dad but we don't seem to be able to communicate with each other.’
      • ‘The Evening Press also discussed last night the difficulties couples have in communicating their wants and needs.’
      • ‘If men and women are to work, play and coexist in modern society, researchers believe men and women must learn to understand and communicate with each other.’
      • ‘It is how you learn to communicate, to understand each other.’
      • ‘She and I haven't ever really been able to communicate with each other.’
      • ‘They need to be able to communicate well with each other - not just about the positive aspects of their work but also to tackle problems as well;’
      • ‘Being able to communicate with each other - especially when emotions are running high - is essential.’
      • ‘Most important, try to sense whether you and the architect or designer will be able to communicate with each other.’
      • ‘If they were a bit more mature, and less wedded to surface impressions they would probably be able to communicate with each other and sort out the problems.’
  • 2with object Pass on (an infectious disease) to another person or animal.

    • ‘The Act was passed merely for sanitary purposes, in order to prevent animals in a state of infectious disease from communicating it to other animals with which they might come in contact.’
    • ‘There had been "no exports of live birds or breeder eggs which could have communicated the virus to turkeys at the affected farm in East Anglia."’
    • ‘Are afraid to actually touch the papers, because they're afraid that anthrax can be communicated.’
    • ‘He unwittingly communicated the virus to fellow guests in the lift or lobby of the hotel where he stayed before going to hospital.’
    transmit, transfer, spread, carry, pass on, hand on, convey
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    1. 2.1with object Transmit (heat or motion)
      ‘the heat is communicated through a small brass grating’
      • ‘This elementary particle allegedly communicates gravitational forces throughout the universe.’
      • ‘Each arises from three cells: one forming the bristle, one forming the socket out of which the bristle grows, and one forming the nerve cell that communicates bristle motion to the central nervous system.’
  • 3often as adjective communicating(of two rooms) have a common connecting door.

    ‘he went into the communicating room to pick up the phone’
    • ‘The breakfast will be served in the communicating room for the private part of the house’
    • ‘Without a word, she floated past me and tiptoed to the door that communicated with her room, opened it a crack, listened.’
    • ‘All rooms communicate directly with this central space.’
    • ‘If this was the location of the door, then it communicated directly with the room or space west of the northern kitchen, rather than directly with the northern kitchen.’
    connect with, be connected to, join up with, link up with, open on to, lead into, give access to
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  • 4Receive Holy Communion.


Early 16th century: from Latin communicat- ‘shared’, from the verb communicare, from communis (see common).