For a person who is beginner in AEM or just started using it will sometimes gets confused with these three things :-
- When someone says Publish a page [OR]
- When someone says Activate a page [OR]
- When someone says Replicate a page to publish .
Actually these three terms means same thing which is pushing data to publish instance or making a page available in author to publish instance.
- Publish / Unpublish
These are general terms used by everybody to make your content in author to be publicly available in publish environment.
- Activate / Deactivate
These terms are synonymous with publish/unpublish and meaning is same as Publish / Unpublish. They are more common in the classic UI and can be accessed from siteadmin or sidekick commonly.
- Replicate / Replication
These are the technical terms used to indicate the movement of data (e.g. page content, files, code, user comments) from one environment to another; i.e. when publishing, or reverse-replicating user comments.
As said meaning is same, but the only difference I have seen is who is actually saying these terms or using it. Business Analyst uses Publish, the people who are bit technical like developers used activate / replicate. All these interchangeable