Definition of salivate in US English:



[no object]
  • 1Secrete saliva, especially in anticipation of food.

    • ‘Pavlov's dogs, which were trained to expect food to appear shortly after the ringing of a bell, came to treat the ringing bell as an index of food to come and would salivate merely on hearing the bell.’
    • ‘Each dish looks almost like their real world counterparts: just about enough to make you salivate at the food.’
    • ‘The temptation to fill my bag was overwhelming, and as I stood there, salivating like a child before a wall of exotic candies, I couldn't help but think that it was my obligation to remove them.’
    • ‘Either way, nothing beats strawberry season - standing in the patch, when the aroma of strawberries floats by you on the breeze and you start to salivate in anticipation.’
    • ‘The aroma of the warm bread, the melted cheese on the baked potatoes and her aunt's special stew made her salivate.’
    • ‘Traditional Cakes & Puddings by Ann Nicol and Hilaire Walden (New Holland, £19.99) will have the dessert devotee salivating wildly.’
    • ‘At first I just looked at the food, my mouth salivating.’
    • ‘The dog will learn to salivate when it hears a buzzer, even if food is no longer present.’
    • ‘The menu featured consistently good, clean, well-prepared Italian food, if nothing to salivate over all week.’
    • ‘Then, it was on to a posh restaurant for the reception where I was positively salivating in anticipation of the delicious food I'd been told about.’
    • ‘As soon as the signal came on, the dogs approached the location of the food and started salivating copiously.’
    • ‘Dogs would begin to salivate when the food arrived.’
    • ‘There were a multitude of candelabra wicks ignited within the pantry, and the smell of food made her salivate.’
    • ‘There weren't English menus, but there was a great picture of each item, making us salivate in anticipation.’
    • ‘The pack members trembled in anticipation, mouths salivating, lips pulled back to bare pointed fangs, and many emitted low, guttural growls.’
    • ‘And there was only about three bites worth and already I was salivating for the food to come.’
    • ‘Having found a way of measuring their salivation in response to food he noticed that the dogs started to salivate before they were given the food.’
    • ‘Sam sighed with relief and smiled at Meila as their order arrived, the aroma of the food made Meila salivate with hunger.’
    • ‘Just by smelling that homemade apple pie or thinking about how delicious that ice cream sundae is going to taste, you begin to salivate - and the digestive process kicks in, preparing for that first scrumptious bite.’
    • ‘Pavlov's dog began to salivate when he rang a bell, conditioned to expect food when it heard the noise.’
    1. 1.1technical with object Cause (a person or animal) to produce an unusually copious secretion of saliva.
  • 2Display great relish at the sight or prospect of something.

    ‘I was fairly salivating at the prospect of a $10 million loan’
    • ‘His marathon sets have spanned the globe, gaining new fans worldwide. Local trance fans are salivating in anticipation of his performance at Motion Notion.’
    • ‘Yet at the same time, Big Pharma is salivating at the prospect of increased sales to millions of newly insured seniors.’
    • ‘Certainly, Gainax and ADV are going to need more than just the two planned DVDs of revised episodes to keep the audience salivating.’
    • ‘I was salivating over the PC diagnostic tools and the POST-Probe, but I left COMDEX without purchasing the toolkit, deciding to make a considered decision later.’
    • ‘In that sense, it is a huge transfer of wealth from the private sector to the public sector, and we can see Government members salivating because, over the next 2 years, there is no fiscal cap.’
    • ‘Since I usually look for an interesting story and good puzzles when I play an adventure, I wasn't exactly salivating or anything when I heard Sokal was coming out with a new adventure, Syberia.’
    • ‘Eventually, too, India's batsmen, or so one presumes, are too gifted to hibernate for too long and their spinners must be salivating at the sight of dusty pitches.’
    • ‘Rugby fans in Pretoria and Cape Town and indeed throughout the country though are salivating at the prospect of another classic duel between the two most successful teams in the history of the Currie Cup.’
    • ‘Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire is now so close that you can actually hear all kinds of children, slightly creepy adults and various other Harry Potter fans salivating as they anticipate the movie's release.’
    • ‘This make it a lot easier for them to grow their National DNA database, and indeed here we find the Home Office salivating over bigger and better DNA retention when it passed the two million mark last year.’
    • ‘Last year, the madding crowd salivated over the first glimpse of Lord of the Rings.’
    • ‘After seeing the gaming marvel that was R4 on the Playstation, the mere thought of Ridge Racer V was enough to get racing fans salivating.’
    • ‘Any new books coming for your fans to salivate in anticipation of?’
    • ‘In a recent interview he had one newspaper salivating at the prospect of Ireland being a role model for the rest of Europe.’
    • ‘English-Canada's critical establishment would be salivating, eagerly waiting his new book or film, ready to compare the latest literary works to those made for cinema.’
    • ‘The next morning the breakers over the shallow plateau might have had surfers across the world salivating in anticipation, but for divers they looked alarming.’
    • ‘Nearly two-thirds of US teenagers watch extreme sports while countries like Brazil and Japan are experiencing an explosion of interest that has advertisers salivating.’
    • ‘But I'm salivating at the prospect of buying a wireless with DAB which I know will probably be useless where we live but they look cool, as the kids say these days.’
    • ‘Strong words, and one can almost hear the law firms salivating at the prospect of being able to prove that there has been a flood of crimes inspired by videogames.’
    • ‘Some foreign investors are salivating at the prospect that turmoil might somehow spring SK Telecom loose as an autonomous company.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin salivat- ‘(having) produced saliva’, from the verb salivare, from saliva (see saliva).