breed

1 of 2

verb

bred ˈbred How to pronounce breed (audio) ; breeding

transitive verb

1
: to produce (offspring) by hatching or gestation
yet every mother breeds not sons alikeShakespeare
2
a
: 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
4
a
: bring up, nurture
We were born and bred in the country.
b
: to inculcate by training
breed good manners into one's children
5
a
: 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

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

breed

2 of 2

noun

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 4a(1))
3
: class, kind
a new breed of athlete
such people are a dying breed

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
And last year, state and federal biologists began capturing juvenile spring-run salmon to breed them in captivity in an attempt to prevent extinction. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2024 Arizona Republic The Arizona Game and Fish Department will start to close some parts of public land and water areas for bald eagle breeding sites through the spring. The Arizona Republic, 21 Feb. 2024 The three younger ones were split into breeding pairs, one of which was paired with the older female. Emily Alvarenga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Feb. 2024 Even though flexibility around how, where and when people do their jobs may vary by role or rank, these differences can breed resentment, and leaders are noticing. Mindi Cox, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 This Valentine’s Day, pet shelters say ‘some things shouldn’t breed’ February 14, 2024 at 3:09 a.m. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2024 This breeds a funny mix of pugilism and sanctimony that can be, frankly, a little unlikable. Clare Malone, The New Yorker, 10 Feb. 2024 And customer loyalty breeds high lifetime value for a corporation. Jason Del Rey, Fortune, 5 Feb. 2024 Sparks are flying over Taylor Swift in Washington, D.C., where the prospect of her endorsing President Joe Biden has enchanted White House aides and bred bad blood in some Republicans. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 5 Feb. 2024
Noun
Stray Dog Found with Tumor Larger than His Head Gets Mass Removed and Finds a Home For the study, researchers looked at 62 canine meningiomas from 27 dog breeds. Nicholas Rice, Peoplemag, 25 Feb. 2024 Diversity of thought breeds innovation, creativity, and resilience within organizations. Geri Stengel, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 Thirty years later, though, there’s a new breed of web crawler in town. Longreads, 16 Feb. 2024 Ultimately, special elections are different breeds than presidential elections. Ben Kamisar, NBC News, 15 Feb. 2024 Over the past year or so, an entirely new breed of luxury hotel has emerged, one that pays tribute to the modernist architects who remade much of Rome in the Rationalist style in the early-to-mid-20th century. Laura May Todd, New York Times, 8 Feb. 2024 Again, it was found that some breeds typically labeled as hypoallergenic actually had higher allergen levels, on average, than other non-hypoallergenic breeds. Anna Nordseth, Discover Magazine, 5 Feb. 2024 Dogs Trust is already working on a new study to determine whether these popular crosses have longer or shorter life expectancies than the breeds they’re derived from. Amanda Schupak, CNN, 3 Feb. 2024 All three wild canids breed annually, spending 10 months a year either pregnant or rearing young. Devin Farmiloe, Scientific American, 14 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'breed.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

Noun

noun derivative of breed entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near breed

Cite this Entry

“Breed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breed. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

breed

1 of 2 verb
bred ˈbred How to pronounce breed (audio) ; breeding
1
: to produce (plants or animals) by sexual reproduction
breed cattle
2
: to produce offspring by sexual reproduction
3
: bring up sense 1, train
born and bred in this town
4
: bring about, cause
familiarity breeds contempt
5
: to produce (a fissionable element) by bombarding an element that is not fissionable with neutrons from a radioactive element so that more fissionable material is produced than is used up
breeder noun

breed

2 of 2 noun
1
: a group of animals or plants usually found only under human care and different from related kinds
a breed of cattle
2
: kind, class

Medical Definition

breed

1 of 2 verb
bred ˈbred How to pronounce breed (audio) ; breeding

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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

breed

2 of 2 noun
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on breed

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