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Alternative forms[edit]


From French galvaniser, from galvanisme, named after Italian physiologist Luigi Aloisio Galvani (1737–1798).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɡælvənaɪ̯z/
  • (file)


galvanize (third-person singular simple present galvanizes, present participle galvanizing, simple past and past participle galvanized) (transitive)

  1. (chemistry) To coat with a thin layer of metal by electrochemical means.
    Synonyms: electroplate, (rare) zinc
  2. To coat with rust-resistant zinc.
    to galvanize steel
  3. (figuratively) To shock or stimulate into sudden activity, as if by electric shock.
    Synonyms: animate, startle, urge
    The girl’s picture helped galvanize public opinion against the administration’s policy.
    Republicans are hoping a proposed gas-tax repeal will galvanize their voters.
  4. (archaic) To electrify.
    • 1835, Thomas Babington Macaulay, History (essay in the Edinburgh Review)
      The agitations resembled the grinnings and writhings of a galvanized corpse, not the struggles of an athletic man.
  5. (historical, US) To switch sides between Union and Confederate in the American Civil War.
    • 1998, Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic, 1st Vintage Departures edition, Vintage Books, →ISBN, page 10:
      Reenactors called this “galvanizing,” the Civil War term for soldiers who switched sides during the conflict.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]





  1. first-person singular present subjunctive of galvanizar
  2. third-person singular present subjunctive of galvanizar
  3. first-person singular imperative of galvanizar
  4. third-person singular imperative of galvanizar