cul·​ti·​vate | \ ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce cultivate (audio) \
cultivated; cultivating

Definition of cultivate

transitive verb

1 : to prepare or prepare and use for the raising of crops Some fields are cultivated while others lie fallow. also : to loosen or break up the soil about (growing plants)
2a : to foster the growth of cultivate vegetables cultivate coffee
b : culture sense 2a cultivate oysters for pearls
c : to improve by labor, care, or study : refine cultivate the mind cultivated a reputation as a hard-core wheeler-dealer …— Kit Boss
3 : further, encourage cultivate the arts
4 : to seek the society of : make friends with looking for influential people to cultivate as friends

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Other Words from cultivate

cultivatable \ ˈkəl-​tə-​ˌvā-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce cultivate (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for cultivate



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Examples of cultivate in a Sentence

Prehistoric peoples settled the area and began to cultivate the land. Some of the fields are cultivated while others lie fallow. a plant that is cultivated for its fruit They survived by cultivating vegetables and grain. He has carefully cultivated his image. She cultivated a taste for fine wines.
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Recent Examples on the Web Acknowledge the systemic factors that work against your ability to cultivate a feeling of belonging. Hanna Hart, Forbes, "Is ‘Imposter Syndrome’ Just Another Way Of Blaming Women?," 24 Feb. 2021 This has given us a great opportunity to cultivate a back and forth for people from the Virgin islands to work in New England and New Englanders to work in the Virgin Islands. Globe Staff,, "Nantucket hoteliers buy a private Caribbean island for their latest resort," 13 Jan. 2021 His business’ ability to cultivate a community set it apart from the large toy companies getting into the market, such as yo-yo maker Duncan. Rachel Hutton, Star Tribune, "Minneapolis' 'Sweets Kendamas' sells the hottest quarantine toy you've never heard of," 27 Nov. 2020 The two Italian groups have also started a program in the settlement to cultivate the moringa tree, a fast-growing, drought-resistant variety rich in vitamins, protein, calcium and iron. New York Times, "In the Sahara, the Solace of Community Baking," 6 Oct. 2020 Oracle’s leadership has also worked hard to cultivate its relationship with Trump. Washington Post, "Oracle’s courting of Trump may help it land TikTok’s business and coveted user data," 16 Sep. 2020 The corporate response, particularly from those singling out the objectors, is extraordinary, given that the business community typically takes pains to cultivate relationships with lawmakers. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Some Texas companies rethink political giving after Capitol riot, with some singling out Electoral College objectors," 15 Jan. 2021 Healing justice asks that approaches to healing be trauma informed, historically relevant, and designed to make whole, which requires collective opportunities for growth and the space to cultivate sustained relationships. Amber Johnson And Kira Hudson Banks, Essence, "This Is What Healing Justice Looks Like," 30 Dec. 2020 At a time when so many students are struggling with virtual learning, Sanders is able to cultivate a real connection and bond through Zoom. CBS News, "Meet the frontline heroes of the coronavirus pandemic," 16 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cultivate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cultivate

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cultivate

Medieval Latin cultivatus, past participle of cultivare, from cultivus cultivable, from Latin cultus, past participle of colere — see cult

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Time Traveler for cultivate

Time Traveler

The first known use of cultivate was in 1588

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Statistics for cultivate

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cultivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for cultivate



English Language Learners Definition of cultivate

: to prepare and use (soil) for growing plants
: to grow and care for (plants)
: to grow or raise (something) under conditions that you can control


cul·​ti·​vate | \ ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce cultivate (audio) \
cultivated; cultivating

Kids Definition of cultivate

1 : to prepare land for the raising of crops cultivate a field
2 : to raise or assist the growth of crops by tilling or by labor and care cultivate corn
3 : to improve or develop by careful attention, training, or study : devote time and thought to He's trying to cultivate a better attitude.
4 : to seek the company and friendship of As soon as Johnny began to cultivate Dove, he was surprised at the response.— Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain


transitive verb
cul·​ti·​vate | \ ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce cultivate (audio) \
cultivated; cultivating

Medical Definition of cultivate

: culture sense 1 viruses cultivated in brain tissue

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