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From the participle stem of Latin participare (to take part in, share in, give part in, impart), from particeps (taking part in, sharing in), from pars (part) + capiō (to take); see part and capable.



participate (third-person singular simple present participates, present participle participating, simple past and past participle participated)

  1. (intransitive) To join in, to take part, to involve oneself (in something). [from 16th c.]
    • 2015 April 16, Jeré Longman, “At Marathon in North Korea, Curiosity Goes a Long Way”, in The New York Times[1]:
      For the second year, foreign amateur runners were allowed to participate in a 10-kilometer race, a half-marathon or a full marathon in Pyongyang, the capital. The races were a part of the April 15 birthday celebration of Kim Il-sung, the former leader of North Korea and father of his successors: Kim Jong-il, a son, and Kim Jong-un, a grandson.
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To share, share in (something). [16th-19th c.]
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act V, Scene 1,[2]
      A spirit I am indeed;
      But am in that dimension grossly clad
      Which from the womb I did participate.
    • 1638, Thomas Herbert, Some Yeares Travels Into Africa & Asia the Great, London: Jacob Blome and Richard Bishop, Book I, p. 52,[3]
      [The Persees] are tollerated all sorts of meat; but (in obedience to the Mahomitan and Bannyan ’mongst whom they live) refraine Beefe and Hog flesh: they seldome feed together, lest they might participate one anothers impurity: each has his owne cup [...].
    • 1803, Robert Charles Dallas, The History of the Maroons, London: Longman and Rees, Volume 1, Letter 4, p. 109,[4]
      In what country on the globe is it, that in the class of mankind doomed to labour, we shall not find tribes, the women of which participate the toils of the men?
  3. (obsolete) To share (something) with others; to transfer (something) to or unto others. [16th-18th c.]
    • 1661, Thomas Salusbury, Galilaeus Galilaeus Lyncaeus, His Systeme of the World, Second Dialogue, in Mathematical Collections and Translations, London, p. 105,[5]
      Make the Earth [...] turn round its own axis in twenty four hours, and towards the same point with all the other Spheres; and without participating this same motion to any other Planet or Star, all shall have their risings, settings, and in a word, all their other appearances.

Related terms[edit]



participate (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) Acting in common; participating.

Further reading[edit]




  1. second-person plural present active imperative of participō