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
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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But Harbaugh has shown that an unconventional coaching history can breed success. Daniel Oyefusi, baltimoresun.com, "Ravens’ John Harbaugh, Giants’ Joe Judge set to meet in ‘special’ clash," 24 Dec. 2020 Evans said many game developers know that loot boxes can breed bad habits. David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Are ‘loot boxes’ in video games a form of gambling?," 11 Dec. 2020 Tens of millions of seabirds soar above the waves, penguins and seals cram onto the beaches, threatened sharks breed offshore and mysterious whales feed in the deep-water canyons. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "A Tiny Atlantic Island Just Protected a Giant, Pristine Stretch of the Ocean," 16 Nov. 2020 West and Tillotson realized that people understand boot camp to be an intense setting, the kind of environment that could breed an equally intense friendship. Rhaina Cohen, The Atlantic, "When a Friend Is Your Life Partner," 20 Oct. 2020 Documentaries, on the other hand, are supposed to open our eyes to the harshness of this world and breed political commitment as a result. Elizabeth Pankova, The New Republic, "The Social Dilemma and the Rise of the Clickbait Documentary," 8 Oct. 2020 Tax cuts for rich people breed inequality without providing much of a boon to anyone else, according to a study of the advanced world that could add to the case for the wealthy to bear more of the cost of the coronavirus pandemic. Craig Stirling, Bloomberg.com, "Fifty Years of Tax Cuts for Rich Didn’t Trickle Down, Study Says," 16 Dec. 2020 Bull semen is a crucial part of the global dairy industry’s ability to maintain sufficient milk output and help farmers breed better, more productive animals. Manavi Kapur, Quartz, "India’s bull semen industry could be used to fight Covid-19," 10 Dec. 2020 But the dearth of information and lack of legal recourse can also breed a deep distrust. New York Times, "Scandal Dogs AstraZeneca’s Vaccine Partner in China," 7 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The greyhound, which can reach speeds of 43 miles per hour, is the fastest domestic dog breed. Liz Langley, Animals, "Meet Phelan the rescue pup—now America’s fastest dog," 11 Dec. 2020 Airlines are expressly prevented from discriminating against service dogs based on breed or appearance. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Why the Emotional Support Dog Ban Is Good for Everyone," 8 Dec. 2020 Come and get Cora, a 4-year-old, large breed mix who gets along great with other pups and all types of people. NOLA.com, "Pet of the Week," 21 Nov. 2020 Zion Says: From the organic gardens, olive oil, and heritage breed pigs and lamb to the wines, all are made with the same care and respect at Hudson Ranch. Matt Bean, Sunset Magazine, "From Buicks to Beaujolais," 11 Nov. 2020 Whether a lab, a chihuahua or some breed in between, your loyal pooch wants season’s treatings too. Christina Vercelletto, CNN Underscored, "30 amazing Advent calendars that make December so much merrier," 10 Nov. 2020 Dede Boies raises heritage breed turkeys at Root Down Farm in Pescadero, California. Dee-ann Durbin, The Christian Science Monitor, "Has Thanksgiving lost its gobble? Farmers face small gatherings.," 30 Oct. 2020 Some species may be only partially carcinized, looking like a half-breed between a lobster and a crab, like with the squat lobster. Sara Kiley Watson, Popular Science, "Why everything eventually becomes a crab," 14 Dec. 2020 Five of them were Belgian Malinois, a common breed for French working dogs, and Jacky was a Jack Russell terrier. Katie Hunt, CNN, "Dogs can be trained to detect Covid-19 by sniffing human sweat, study suggests," 10 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for breed

Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Breed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breed. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for breed

breed

verb
How to pronounce breed (audio)

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 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
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on breed

What made you want to look up breed? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

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!