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From Latin sublīmātus, past participle of sublīmāre (to raise, elevate).


  • IPA(key): /ˈsʌblɪmeɪt/
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sublimate (third-person singular simple present sublimates, present participle sublimating, simple past and past participle sublimated)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, physics) To change state from a solid to a gas without passing through the liquid state. [from 16th c.]
    Synonym: sublime
  2. (transitive, archaic) To purify or refine a substance through such a change of state.
  3. (transitive, psychoanalysis) To modify the natural expression of a sexual or primitive instinct in a socially acceptable manner; to divert the energy of such an instinct into some acceptable activity.
    • 1969, Susan Sontag, “What’s Happening in America”, in Styles of Radical Will, Kindle edition, Penguin Modern Classics, published 2009, →ISBN, page 194:
      Foreigners extol the American “energy,” attributing to it both our unparalleled economic prosperity and the splendid vivacity of our arts and entertainments. [] Basically it is the energy of violence, of free-floating resentment and anxiety unleashed by chronic cultural dislocations which must be, for the most part, ferociously sublimated. This energy has mainly been sublimated into crude materialism and acquisitiveness.
  4. (archaic) To raise to a place of honor; to refine and exalt.
    Synonyms: heighten, elevate
    • Dr. H. More
      The precepts of Christianity are [] so apt to cleanse and sublimate the more gross and corrupt.

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


sublimate (plural sublimates)

  1. (chemistry) A product obtained by sublimation.

See also[edit]





  1. second-person plural present indicative of sublimare
  2. second-person plural imperative of sublimare
  3. feminine plural of sublimato




  1. second-person plural present active imperative of sublīmō