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
Those coming to breed for the first time arrive several weeks later. Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press, 28 Mar. 2024 The baby baboon was purposely bred as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, which is meant to ensure the survival of Himalayan baboons. John Metcalfe, The Mercury News, 28 Mar. 2024 Distressed Assets And Special Situations Volatility often breeds opportunity. Christian Oberbeck, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 In the past months, the situation has bred uncertainty as management of the property has been taken over by a third party. Bill Lukitsch, Kansas City Star, 26 Mar. 2024 These survivors have become known as lingering ash, and from them, scientists are breeding new trees. Daryln Brewer Hoffstot Kristian Thacker, New York Times, 23 Mar. 2024 But in reality, scientists say a shark couldn’t breed with a stingray—their anatomies are completely different. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Mar. 2024 Queen Elizabeth was a regular at races like the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot throughout her record reign, breeding various champion horses and reportedly earning millions in prize money through the years. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 13 Mar. 2024 North Atlantic right whales historically started breeding by around 9 years of age and gave birth to a single calf every three to four years thereafter for several decades. Joshua Reed, The Conversation, 13 Mar. 2024
Noun
Legally, the building cannot charge extra fees to this resident or limit the dog’s size or breed. Jill Terreri Ramos, New York Times, 23 Mar. 2024 Those two breeds still rank as No. 1 and No. 2 on the AKC list. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 21 Mar. 2024 The trailers—or, really, mini-films—that came from that period of incubation have slowly become legend among a devoted fan base eager for a new breed and look of Black imagination. Jason Parham, WIRED, 20 Mar. 2024 Flycatchers are migratory birds and breed in the Southwest between May and September before traveling to Latin America for the winter. Hayleigh Evans, The Arizona Republic, 1 Mar. 2024 The former vegetarian built his company on the premise of animal welfare, sourcing directly from farmers who prioritize free-range habitats, heritage breeds and all-grass diets. Stephanie Breijo, Los Angeles Times, 26 Feb. 2024 Below are the nation's top five most popular dog breeds and more about them according to AKC's website. USA TODAY, 21 Mar. 2024 But there is an altogether different breed of Scrabble player. Joe Heim, Washington Post, 17 Mar. 2024 Harrison doesn’t have an overall diagnosis beyond being a French bulldog — an increasingly popular breed prone to health problems. Thalia Beaty, Quartz, 17 Mar. 2024

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 16 Apr. 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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