propagate

verb
prop·​a·​gate | \ ˈprä-pə-ˌgāt How to pronounce propagate (audio) \
propagated; propagating

Definition of propagate

transitive verb

1 : to cause to continue or increase by sexual or asexual reproduction
2 : to pass along to offspring
3a : to cause to spread out and affect a greater number or greater area : extend
b : to foster growing knowledge of, familiarity with, or acceptance of (something, such as an idea or belief) : publicize
c : to transmit (something, such as sound or light) through a medium

intransitive verb

1 : to multiply sexually or asexually
3 : to travel through space or a material used of wave energy (such as light, sound, or radio waves)

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Other Words from propagate

propagative \ ˈprä-​pə-​ˌgā-​tiv How to pronounce propagative (audio) \ adjective
propagator \ ˈprä-​pə-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce propagator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for propagate

Synonyms

breed, multiply, procreate, reproduce

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Did You Know?

The origins of propagate are firmly rooted in the field of horticulture. The word was borrowed into English in the late 16th century from Latin propagatus, the past participle of the verb propagare, which means "to set (onto a plant) a small shoot or twig cut for planting or grafting." Propagare, in turn, derives from propages, meaning "layer (of a plant), slip, offspring." It makes sense, therefore, that the earliest uses of propagate referred to facilitating the reproduction of a plant or animal. Nowadays, however, the meaning of propagate can extend to the "reproduction" of something intangible, such as an idea or belief. Incidentally, propaganda also comes to us from propagare, although it took a somewhat different route into English.

Examples of propagate in a Sentence

We are discovering new ways to propagate plants without seeds. He propagated the apple tree by grafting. The plants failed to propagate.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Since taking office in 2012, Xi has ruthlessly consolidated his position, chilling dissent, purging the Communist Party of potential rivals, scrapping term limits to his rule, and propagating his own ideological cult across the country. Ishaan Tharoor, The Denver Post, "Tharoor: Trump and Xi lock horns — and drag the world with them," 8 Aug. 2019 Since taking office in 2012, Xi has ruthlessly consolidated his position, chilling dissent, purging the Communist Party of potential rivals, scrapping term limits to his rule, and propagating his own ideological cult across the country. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump and Xi lock horns — and drag the world with them," 7 Aug. 2019 The couple secured and propagated 1,227 kernels of the heirloom W335A from the university’s seed bank. Mary Bergin, chicagotribune.com, "From the soil to suds and spirits: Where to find creative cocktails and beer on Wisconsin farms," 6 Aug. 2019 Though white nationalist fantasies are loosely based on real events, modern elaborations are often authored by people with no actual connection to the original place or people, and their fairy tales can be self-propagating. C. Brandon Ogbunu, WIRED, "How White Nationalists Have Co-Opted Fan Fiction," 1 Aug. 2019 As this tip propagated through the plate’s weak zone toward the west, mantle upwelling might have melted the crust above, resulting in explosions of rhyolitic magma that follow the age progression seen at the surface. National Geographic, "A tectonic plate is dying under Oregon. Here’s why that matters.," 29 July 2019 Moreover, the speed at which electromagnetic fields propagated through space almost precisely matched the speed of light repeatedly measured by experiments — a speed that didn’t change no matter what. Quanta Magazine, "The Simple Idea Behind Einstein’s Greatest Discoveries," 26 June 2019 The riots’ stop-and-go pattern was aided mightily by wild rumors, propagated by the city’s black and white newspapers (including this one). William Lee, chicagotribune.com, "‘Ready to explode’: How a black boy’s drifting raft triggered a deadly week of riots 100 years ago in Chicago," 19 July 2019 Youssef is using his time in the spotlight to counteract the negative stereotypes propagated even beyond Hollywood’s reach. Rosy Cordero, EW.com, "Watch Ramy Youssef discuss 'Uncle Donald Trump' in first comedy special Feelings," 12 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'propagate.' 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 propagate

1535, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for propagate

Latin propagatus, past participle of propagare to set slips, propagate, from propages slip, offspring, from pro- before + pangere to fasten — more at pro-, pact

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Statistics for propagate

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for propagate

The first known use of propagate was in 1535

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More Definitions for propagate

propagate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of propagate

formal : to make (something, such as an idea or belief) known to many people
technical : to produce (a new plant)

propagate

verb
prop·​a·​gate | \ ˈprä-pə-ˌgāt How to pronounce propagate (audio) \
propagated; propagating

Kids Definition of propagate

1 : to have or cause to have offspring : multiply You can propagate apple trees from seed.
2 : to cause (as an idea or belief) to spread out and affect a greater number or wider area The preacher traveled to propagate his faith.

propagate

verb
prop·​a·​gate | \ ˈpräp-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce propagate (audio) \
propagated; propagating

Medical Definition of propagate

transitive verb

1 : to cause to continue or increase by sexual or asexual reproduction
2 : to cause to spread or to be transmitted

intransitive verb

: to multiply sexually or asexually

Other Words from propagate

propagable \ ˈpräp-​ə-​gə-​bəl How to pronounce propagable (audio) \ adjective
propagative \ -​ˌgāt-​iv How to pronounce propagative (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on propagate

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