breed·​ing | \ ˈbrē-diŋ \

Definition of breeding

1 : the action or process of bearing or generating
2 : ancestry
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

Jordan, founding president of Stanford University, was a progressive reformer who thought society could be improved through sterilization and selective breeding. Jason Willick, WSJ, "A Case of Mistaken Identity Politics in the Heart of Silicon Valley," 29 Dec. 2018 Ask how the camp acquires its elephants and what its policy is on breeding. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "Is It Ever Okay to Ride Elephants While on Vacation? It’s Complicated...," 18 Oct. 2018 This gene can now be used to select strains with solid stems in future wheat breeding programs. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "The nightmarishly complex wheat genome finally yields to scientists," 16 Aug. 2018 Back at the breeding facility, Pérez-Fleitas leads the way past rows of pens where 4,000 or so animals are organized by size and age. Shanna Baker, Smithsonian, "The Quest to Preserve the Last of Castro’s Crocodiles," 21 June 2018 Of the 23 nuns in the convent, three or four live and work at the breeding facility at a time to take care of the animals. National Geographic, "Nuns Resurrect Endangered Salamanders in First-of-its-Kind Conservation Effort," 19 June 2018 An Uncomfortable Tour Many of the legal breeding facilities are in and around Jakarta. Rachel Nuwer, New York Times, "That Python in the Pet Store? It May Have Been Snatched From the Wild," 9 Apr. 2018 The center’s campus was built as a research and breeding facility. Dana Oland, idahostatesman, "Birds of Prey gets a rare addition and a multimillion-dollar expansion | Idaho Statesman," 12 Mar. 2018 His breeding rights reportedly have been sold to Coolmore for $75 million, although WinStar Farm president Elliott Walden has refuted that report. Louisville Courier Journal, The Courier-Journal, "Triple Crown winner Justify gets festive sendoff from Churchill Downs," 16 June 2018

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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Statistics for breeding

Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

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

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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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Comments on breeding

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