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From Latin sedatus, past participle of sedare (to settle), causative of sedere (to sit).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /sɪˈdeɪt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /səˈdeɪt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪt


sedate (comparative more sedate, superlative most sedate)

  1. (of a person or their behaviour) Remaining composed and dignified, and avoiding too much activity or excitement.
    Synonyms: placid, staid, unruffled
    • 1642, Richard Watson, A Sermon Touching Schisme[1], Cambridge: Roger Daniel, page 27:
      [] they will rashly huddle up all together, and not admitting the least check of a sedate judgement, publish onely the impetuous dictates of their indiscreet and too precipitant fancie []
    • 1715, Homer, [Alexander] Pope, transl., “Book 3”, in The Iliad of Homer, volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintott [], →OCLC, page 5, lines 87-88:
      But who like thee can boast a Soul sedate,
      So firmly Proof to all the Shocks of Fate?
    • 1886, Thomas Hardy, chapter 16, in The Mayor of Casterbridge[2]:
      A reel or fling of some sort was in progress; and the usually sedate Farfrae was in the midst of the other dancers in the costume of a wild Highlander, flinging himself about and spinning to the tune.
    • 1989, Hilary Mantel, chapter 9, in Fludd[3], New York: Henry Holt, published 2000, page 149:
      Then she saw that they were waving their handkerchiefs; dipping them up and down, with a curiously sedate, formal motion.
  2. (of an object, particularly a building) Not overly ornate or showy.
    Synonym: unobtrusive
    Antonym: obtrusive
    • 1928, Virginia Woolf, chapter 6, in Orlando: A Biography, London: The Hogarth Press, →OCLC; republished as Orlando: A Biography (eBook no. 0200331h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, July 2015:
      Sometimes she passed down avenues of sedate mansions, soberly numbered ‘one’, ‘two’, ‘three’, and so on right up to two or three hundred, each the copy of the other, with two pillars and six steps and a pair of curtains neatly drawn []
    • 1936 June 30, Margaret Mitchell, chapter 37, in Gone with the Wind, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, →OCLC; republished New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, 1944, →OCLC:
      The shiny carriages of Yankee officers’ wives and newly rich Carpetbaggers splashed mud on the dilapidated buggies of the townspeople, and gaudy new homes of wealthy strangers crowded in among the sedate dwellings of older citizens.
    • 1942, Emily Carr, “Grown Up”, in The Book of Small:
      Facing the Parliament Buildings across James’ Bay arose a sedate stone and cement Post Office.
    • 1985, Doris Lessing, The Good Terrorist[4], London: Jonathan Cape, page 352:
      The great hotel, with its look of sedate luxury, brooded massively there with people teeming about it.

Derived terms[edit]



sedate (third-person singular simple present sedates, present participle sedating, simple past and past participle sedated)

  1. To calm or put (a person) to sleep using a sedative drug.
    Synonym: tranquilize
    • 1990, J. M. Coetzee, chapter 2, in Age of Iron[5], New York: Random House, page 80:
      Though he may have been sedated, he knew I was there, knew who I was, knew I was talking to him.
  2. To make tranquil.
    Synonyms: calm, soothe, tranquilize

Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]



Etymology 1[edit]



  1. inflection of sedare:
    1. second-person plural present indicative
    2. second-person plural imperative

Etymology 2[edit]


sedate f pl

  1. feminine plural of sedato




  1. second-person plural present active imperative of sēdō


  • sedate”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • sedate”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • sedate in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette




  1. second-person singular voseo imperative of sedar combined with te