breed

verb
\ ˈbrēd How to pronounce breed (audio) \
bred\ ˈbred How to pronounce bred (audio) \; breeding

Definition of breed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to produce (offspring) by hatching or gestation yet every mother breeds not sons alike— Shakespeare
2a : beget sense 1 He bred a daughter.
b : produce, engender despair often breeds violence
3 biology : to propagate (plants or animals) sexually and usually under controlled conditions bred several strains of corn together to produce a superior variety
4a : bring up, nurture We were born and bred in the country.
b : to inculcate by training breed good manners into one's children
5a : mate entry 4 sense 3 the business of breeding cattle a horse that is bred to a donkey
b : to mate with : inseminate
c : impregnate sense 2 delivered her kittens 63 days after being bred
6 physics : to produce (a fissionable element) by bombarding a nonfissionable element with neutrons from a radioactive element

intransitive verb

1a : to produce offspring by sexual union places where mosquitoes breed
b : copulate, mate
2 : to propagate animals or plants

breed

noun

Definition of breed (Entry 2 of 2)

1 biology : a group of usually domesticated animals or plants presumably related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most characters exotic breeds of cats retrievers and other popular dog breeds
2 : a number of persons of the same stock (see stock entry 1 sense 5b(1))
3 : class, kind a new breed of athlete such people are a dying breed

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Examples of breed in a Sentence

Verb

He got into the business of breeding cattle. The plants are bred to resist disease and drought. She believes that we are breeding a generation of children who know nothing about the history of their country.

Noun

The collie is a working breed. a new breed of athlete
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But as long as its earlier self can start to breed a new generation of smartasses with a frame of reference that extends beyond Fortnite and memes with fruit-fly lifespans, then what—me worry? Peter Rubin, WIRED, "By Dying, MAD Gets Its Best Shot at a Second Life," 11 July 2019 Short-term strategies could include using our findings to breed or increase cultivation of crops that are resilient to or even benefit from climate change. Deepak Ray, The Conversation, "Climate change is affecting crop yields and reducing global food supplies," 9 July 2019 The ultimate goal is to breed the salamanders in captivity — in large numbers — and repopulate them in the wild. Josh Baugh, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio scientist works to save endangered salamander in southeastern U.S.," 8 July 2019 Individuals that exhibit desirable traits are selected to be bred, and these desirable traits are then passed along to future generations. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "Domesticated animals, explained," 4 July 2019 Siskiyou is a first-time mom, and the zoo doesn’t plan to breed further. USA TODAY, "Kacey Musgraves, sneaker flap, skiing in July: News from around our 50 states," 3 July 2019 Some are in heat and ready to breed with one of the Chinese Meishan boars. Casey Smith, Indianapolis Star, "I took a tour of Fair Oaks Farms. Here's what I saw.," 10 June 2019 Only one in every thirty male sea lions has the chance to breed in the rookeries, and the sea lions that stay near the dam have no chance. Sallie Tisdale, Harper's magazine, "Catechism of the Waters," 10 June 2019 The genetics of simple traits can often be deduced from pedigrees, and people have been using that approach for millennia to selectively breed vegetables that taste better and cows that produce more milk. Quanta Magazine, "New Turmoil Over Predicting the Effects of Genes," 23 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The researchers’ findings suggest that just under half of breed behavioral differences can be attributed to hereditary factors. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Your Cat’s Attitude Actually Is Closely Linked to Its Breed, Survey Shows," 19 June 2019 Huskies are being targeted by breeders who capitalize on the demand for the Games of Thrones breed (several of the dogs in the show are relatives of huskies). Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Game Of Thrones Wants You To Stop Buying "Direwolf" Dog Breeds," 16 Apr. 2019 Perhaps the rarest of this common breed are those made by the Singer Corporation. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "When the Singer Sewing Machine Company Built the Best .45 Pistol Ever Made," 21 Sep. 2018 Chico belongs to the Colorado State Land Board, for example—and raises a few thousand of the Beefmaster breed on those parcels, keeping the ecological needs of the land in mind. Candice Rainey, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Colorado Ranch Retreat That Gives You a Real Taste of Cowboy Life," 20 July 2018 But whether Mars is an exception to this trend as opposed to the desperate last gasp of a dying breed is an open question. Dj Louie Xiv, Vanities, "Has 2018 Killed the Pop Star?," 22 June 2018 This new ordinance holds dog owners responsible for their pets' behavior, regardless of the animals' breed. Hannah Drown, cleveland.com, "The dog debate is over in Lakewood after City Council passes law ending breed-specific ban on pit bulls," 3 Apr. 2018 The course was laid out on the former Blenheim Farm and named for a thoroughbred horse brought to the American colonies from England in about 1730 that became a foundation sire of the breed in America. Erika Butler, The Aegis, "Bulle Rock opens for season after uncertainty over golf course's future," 29 Mar. 2018 Spring's best loafers are of a distinctly fashion-forward breed—check out (and shop!) some of the coolest styles on the market right now. Ana Colon, Glamour, "Spring 2018's Best Loafers Are Anything but Boring," 29 Mar. 2018

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

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for breed

Verb and Noun

Middle English breden, from Old English brēdan; akin to Old English brōd brood

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Statistics for breed

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breed

The first known use of breed was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for breed

breed

verb

English Language Learners Definition of breed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to keep and take care of animals or plants in order to produce more animals or plants of a particular kind
: to produce young animals, birds, etc. : to produce offspring by sexual reproduction
: to take care of and teach (a child who is growing up)

breed

noun

English Language Learners Definition of breed (Entry 2 of 2)

: a particular kind of dog, cat, horse, etc. : a kind of animal that has been produced by breeding
: a kind of person

breed

verb
\ ˈbrēd How to pronounce breed (audio) \
bred\ ˈbred \; breeding

Kids Definition of breed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to produce or increase (animals or plants) by sexual reproduction Ranchers breed cattle for market.
2 : to produce offspring by sexual reproduction Mosquitoes breed in damp areas.
3 : to bring up : train I was born and bred in this town.
4 : to bring about : cause Poverty breeds despair.

Other Words from breed

breeder noun

breed

noun

Kids Definition of breed (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a kind of animal or plant that is found only under human care and is different from related kinds a breed of long-haired dogs
2 : class entry 1 sense 6, kind I don't like his breed of humor.

breed

verb
\ ˈbrēd How to pronounce breed (audio) \
bred\ ˈbred How to pronounce bred (audio) \; breeding

Medical Definition of breed

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to produce (offspring) by hatching or gestation
2 : to propagate (plants or animals) sexually and usually under controlled conditions
3a : mate
b : to mate with : inseminate

intransitive verb

1a : to produce offspring by sexual union
b : copulate, mate
2 : to propagate animals or plants

breed

noun

Medical Definition of breed (Entry 2 of 2)

: a group of animals or plants presumably related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most characters especially : such a group differentiated from the wild type under domestication

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More from Merriam-Webster on breed

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breed

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breed

Spanish Central: Translation of breed

Nglish: Translation of breed for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breed for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about breed

Comments on breed

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