breed

verb
\ ˈbrēd How to pronounce breed (audio) \
bred\ ˈbred How to pronounce breed (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 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 Ashman wonders if honeybees, which farmers often breed, could also exacerbate plant virus spread in agricultural areas. Saima May Sidik, Scientific American, 1 May 2022 The worms can mature and breed there, and legions of little larvae—about 600 micrometers in length—can emerge, burrow directly into a person's skin unnoticed, and make their way into the intestines by various routes. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 22 Apr. 2022 Outside of the racing simulation, players have control and can choose to rest, sell or even breed their horse with another to grow their stable. J.l. Kirven, USA TODAY, 12 Apr. 2022 Outside of the racing simulation, players have control and can choose to rest, sell or even breed their horse with another to grow their stable. J.l. Kirven, The Courier-Journal, 12 Apr. 2022 The short version is that the hogs are super smart, have no natural predators and breed like crazy. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2022 The exploitation of oil tends to destabilize emerging economies and breed corruption. University Of Houston Energy Fellows, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 To help breed the animal, China loaned out its unofficial national animal through the long-standing program of panda diplomacy. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 19 Jan. 2022 Close exposure to people with differences and open conversations about our distinctions breed acceptance and tolerance, and eradicate fear. BostonGlobe.com, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jalayne even posed for a photo with two corgis, as the Queen is known for her love of the breed. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, 3 Jan. 2022 This meant he was paid well during the Great Depression: the best of the breed earned up to $7,500 annually -- more than $150,000 in today’s dollars. oregonlive, 21 Dec. 2021 Bullfighting advocates also argue that the bulls raised for corridas could not be domesticated or consumed as meat, so the end of the pastime could mean the end of the breed. Washington Post, 14 Dec. 2021 He was widely viewed as the last of a breed, the final entry in Mexico’s pantheon of crooning matinee idols. Jesse Katz, Los Angeles Times, 12 Dec. 2021 Marsal’s confident the company’s test could eventually reach 5 percent of dogs in the U.S. each year, adding that OncoK9 is especially useful for larger, cancer-prone breeds and older dogs of any breed. San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Dec. 2021 Are there plan restrictions for age, breed or pre-existing conditions? Wagmo, Forbes, 3 May 2022 Individual airlines have different policies about whether pets can travel in the cabin with their owners or not -- size and breed play a major role. Lilit Marcus, CNN, 12 Apr. 2022 Like the popular Pokémon franchise, Axie lets players collect, trade, breed, and battle cute digital creatures. Matthew Smith, Wired, 15 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

Noun

noun derivative of breed entry 1

Learn More About breed

Time Traveler for breed

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near breed

breech presentation

breed

breeder

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for breed

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Breed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breed. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for breed

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 breed (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

More from Merriam-Webster on breed

Nglish: Translation of breed for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breed for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about breed

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!