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

While attending high school, Detroit-born-and-bred Ross enrolled in cosmetology school, practicing hairstyles on herself as well as taking neighbors as clients. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Happy 75th Birthday, Diana Ross! The Pop Icon’s Best Beauty Looks of All Time," 26 Mar. 2019 The South Island’s mountainous, dramatic southwestern coast is home to breeding colonies of the Fiordland penguin, though the animals don’t maintain residence there year-round. 15. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Penguins," 6 Nov. 2018 It’s music born and bred in the streets of New York, with danceable Latin influence and beats. Leila Cobo, Billboard, "The Times Have Changed: What 'I Like It' Hitting No. 1 Means to Latin Music," 3 July 2018 Bacteria breed fast and evolve quickly, and over time many species will evolve a resistance to one antibiotic or another. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Found 'Superbugs' in Remote Arctic Wilderness," 29 Jan. 2019 During breeding and chick-rearing on land, when foraging opportunities are restricted, Fiordlands, like other penguins, can lose 50 percent of their body mass. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Penguins," 6 Nov. 2018 Originally the phrase was used only in those breeding grounds of empire, the public schools. New York Times, "Notes From the Book Review Archives," 18 May 2018 Fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales remain, including just over 100 breeding females. Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post, "These whales will be extinct in 25 years, scientists say — unless we act now to save them," 20 Apr. 2018 Fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales remain, including just over 100 breeding females. Sarah Kaplan, BostonGlobe.com, "N. Atlantic right whales will be extinct in 25 years, scientists say - unless we act now to save them," 20 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The overall risk for dogs was low, starting at 0.3 to 2 percent, depending on the breed. Stacey Burling, Philly.com, "Penn study: Summer puppies more prone to heart disease," 21 May 2018 The plastic breeds were on full display floating along Bayou St. John at the Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo on Sunday (May 20). Chris Granger, NOLA.com, "A sunny Sunday full of music, food and flotation devices at Bayou Boogaloo: Photos," 20 May 2018 These small air pockets, which slightly resemble tiny grapes, actually gave sargassum its name, derived from the Portuguese word for a breed of grapes. Jacob Sweet, miamiherald, "Lots of sun, and brown slimy seaweed, in the forecast for South Florida beaches," 3 July 2018 Heritage Foods is an online butcher known for heirloom breeds: Think Red Wattle prosciutto or these mildly gamey Dorset Horn chops. Ashley Mason, Bon Appetit, "7 Online Butchers That Bring Quality Meat to Your Doorstep," 22 June 2018 The same goes for any breed with a long, thick coat. USA TODAY, "Don't let puppy love blind you to the expense of having a dog," 22 June 2018 Initially, Speier's SB 861 called for mandatory insurance and identity microchips for breeds perceived as dangerous. Michael Livingston, latimes.com, "2005 battle over pit bulls revived for some dog lovers considering California's governor's race," 23 May 2018 Made from the softest wool produced by certain breeds of goats, such as the Zalaa Ginst white goat and Tibetan Plateau goat, cashmere was once reserved for the wealthiest fashionistas. Kim Bhasin, Bloomberg.com, "Why a Cashmere Sweater Can Cost $2,000 … or $30," 19 Apr. 2018 The first thought was bloat — a twisted gut, always a possibility for large-chested breeds like his boxer–pit bull mix. Janice Gary, Longreads, "Bang and Vanish," 18 Apr. 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

8 Apr 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

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