breed·​ing | \ ˈbrē-diŋ How to pronounce breeding (audio) \

Definition of breeding

1 : the action or process of bearing or generating
3a archaic : education she had her breeding at my father's charge— William Shakespeare
b : training in or observance of the proprieties
4 : the sexual propagation of plants or animals

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Examples of breeding in a Sentence

She became involved in the breeding of sled dogs. His politeness shows good breeding. a person who lacks breeding
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Recent Examples on the Web Texas high school football is one of the top breeding grounds for NFL quarterbacks, and Cowboys-Ravens just missed being a head-to-head matchup. Callie Caplan, Dallas News, "Cowboys vs. Texas HS football: Dallas’ game at Ravens will have 17 reasons for all Texans to tune in," 7 Dec. 2020 The answer might have more to do with the next year’s breeding season than the current one. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, "High-Tech Tracking Reveals ‘Whole New Secret World of Birds’," 28 Aug. 2020 Yet never has the saw about familiarity breeding contempt been less true. David Mermelstein, WSJ, "‘Wilhelm Kempff Edition’ Review: A Classical Colossus," 15 Dec. 2020 Milkweed has declined across monarch breeding grounds throughout the United States since farmers started using crops that are genetically modified to tolerate Roundup, a brand of weedkiller. New York Times, "Monarch Butterflies Qualify for Endangered List. They Still Won’t Be Protected.," 15 Dec. 2020 The property is home to LakeView Shepherds, a breeding operation run by Jennifer Bush, the teenager's mother. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Authorities ID teenager killed by dog at family breeding operation in western Minnesota," 14 Dec. 2020 And, Carlisle says, with fewer than a hundred curlews left in this part of southwestern Idaho, the shooting death of every breeding bird adds up. Christine Peterson, Animals, "Illegal shooting of protected animals more common than thought," 11 Dec. 2020 Even in the event of a worst-case scenario and a complete breeding failure, penguins' relatively long lifespan offers plenty of opportunities to reproduce. Thomas Page, CNN, "Is an iceberg weighing hundreds of billions of tons on a penguin collision course?," 11 Dec. 2020 While the males feature the notable orange coloring, the smaller breeding females can have yellow or orange patches on their body, or brownish gray with light green spots and short stripes on their head and neck, the press release said. Richard Tribou,, "Researchers: keep eye out for non-native lizard eating Florida’s butterflies," 11 Dec. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for breeding

Time Traveler

The first known use of breeding was in the 14th century

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Statistics for breeding

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Breeding.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for breeding


How to pronounce breeding (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of breeding

: the process by which young animals, birds, etc., are produced by their parents
: the activity of keeping and caring for animals or plants in order to produce more animals or plants of a particular kind
somewhat old-fashioned : the way a person was taught in childhood to behave : good manners that come from being raised correctly


breed·​ing | \ ˈbrē-diŋ \

Kids Definition of breeding

: training especially in manners

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