The Meaning of GALVANIZE (It’s related to frogs’ legs!)


Download Podcast Transcript – PDF



Image credits: See below

The Meaning of GALVANIZE (It’s related to Frogs’ Legs!)


This video explains the meaning of galvanize, the origin of the word, and numerous illustrated sentence examples.

Slide 1:
Hello, I’m David James.

Slide 2:
Would you like to IMPROVE your ENGLISH? Would you like to speak ENGLISH with
more CONFIDENCE? I can help you. Go right now to:
and signup for my free online course. You will be amazed at how quickly you will improve!

Slide 3:
Today we are looking at the origin and meaning of ‘galvanize’.

Slide 4:
First, where does the word ‘galvanize’ come from?

Slide 5:
The picture shows a sculpture of Italian physicist Luigi Galvani. The sentence reads:

In 1762 the Italian physicist Luigi Galvani discovered voltaic electricity (electricity produced by a chemical action).

Slide 6:
The next picture shows Luigi Galvani dissecting frogs’ legs.

The sentence reads:
While cutting a frog’s leg, Galvani noticed the leg twitched. He found it was because his steel scalpel had touched a brass hook holding the frog’s leg.

Slide 7:
The next picture shows a diagram of Galvani’s experiments.

The sentence reads:
Galvani’s experiments showed that the touching of the two dissimilar metals had produced electricity.

Slide 8:
So the word ‘galvanize’ is taken from Galvani’s name and it is associated with his discovery of voltaic electricity while cutting frogs’ legs!

Two Common Meanings of GALVANIZE

Slide 9:
Here are 2 common meanings of GALVANIZE:

  1. to coat metal, especially iron or steel, with zinc
  2. to create awareness, to move to action, to stimulate or shock as if by an electric current

Let’s look at some examples . . .

Slide 10:
The picture shows a section of metal sheeting.

The sentence example reads:
The galvanized sheeting around the bus shelter gave us some protection from the biting wind.

Slide 11:
Notes: Here the adjective “galvanized” is used to describe metal coated with zinc. The phrase “biting wind” refers to wind that is very cold, causing a stinging sensation.

Slide 12:
The next picture shows an area in Japan devastated by a tsunami with rescue workers searching through the rubble.

The sentence example reads:
A sudden drop in temperature galvanized the rescue team’s efforts to try and find survivors.

Slide 13:
Notes: ‘Galvanized’ is used here to mean ‘stimulated or moved to action’.

Slide 14:
The last picture shows the cover of the famous novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.

The sentence example reads:
The 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” galvanized public opinion in America in support of the anti-slavery movement.

Slide 15:
Notes: Again, ‘galvanized’ is used to indicate a sudden awakening and action, similar to the effect of an electric shock!

To sum up . . .

Slide 16:
In conclusion: When using the word ‘galvanize’ remember the connection with Luigi Galvani, electricity and frogs’ legs!

It can refer to metal coated with zinc, but also it can describe an awakening and stimulating to action, as if by an electric shock!

Slide 17:
Did this video increase your knowledge? Share it now and add value to someone’s day!
Click the Share Button below!

Slide 18:
This is David James helping you to speak English with Confidence. Be sure to signup for my free online course!
Go to right now!

Now you know the meaning of GALVANIZE, look for an opportunity to use it in daily speech.

If you are interested in word origins, be sure to browse this page:
“The Meaning of CONCOCTION and the COOKING connection!”

Image Credits:

Slide 4: Creative Commons | No change
Slide 5: : Public Domain,_oil-painting.jpg
Slide 6: Public Domain
Slide 7: Creative Commons | No change
Slide 10: Creative Commons | No change
Slide 12: Creative Commons | No change
 Department for International Development/Ed Hawkesworth
Slide 14: Public Domain's_Cabin#/media/File:UncleTomsCabinCover.jpg
Creative Commons License: