cop·​u·​late | \ ˈkä-pyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce copulate (audio) \
copulated; copulating

Definition of copulate

intransitive verb

: to engage in sexual intercourse

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from copulate

copulation \ ˌkä-​pyə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce copulation (audio) \ noun
copulatory \ ˈkä-​pyə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce copulatory (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for copulate


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of copulate in a Sentence

Some animals have complex mating rituals before they copulate. the time of year when deer in the wild are likely to copulate
Recent Examples on the Web These include someone washing a cucumber, copulating wind-up toy rabbits, a phallic fungus, a beaver, the Washington Monument, the pop of a champagne cork, and the sensuous blossoming of a flower. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The 2010s were a veritable golden age of opening credits in television," 30 Dec. 2019 The notorious sculpture depicts Pan, rustic god of the wild, copulating with a she-goat. Christopher Knight,, "Review: Getty Villa’s ‘Buried by Vesuvius’ is exquisite and, at times, explicit," 3 July 2019 Males will try to copulate not only with females, but also other males. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Fungus Causes Cicadas to Mate Like Crazy, Even After Their Butts Fall Off," 29 June 2019 A few weeks ago the pair, named Monty and Rose, began copulating, said Giometti. Morgan Greene,, "Beachside fest Mamby’s move to Montrose creating waves between birders, boaters, neighbors and music fans," 14 June 2019 Even with the copulating couple caught on camera, the attention is all on the child's response to the spectacle. Marlisse Cepeda, Woman's Day, "Little Girl Has Adorable Reaction to Two Turtles Mating," 26 Jan. 2015 In New York, detectives have turned their attention to a student-actress' accusation she was forced to orally copulate the producer in 2004 and another actress' allegation of rape in 2010. Richard Winton,, "Fate of Harvey Weinstein sexual assault cases now in hands of two cautious prosecutors," 20 Mar. 2018 Danish challengers, asked to make a dessert fit for a bachelor party, offered buttercream buttocks and fondant figures copulating under the covers. The Economist, "How “Bake Off” went global," 31 Aug. 2017 In two reported cases, females feasted on birds while copulating with males. Natalie Angier, New York Times, "Birds Beware: The Praying Mantis Wants Your Brain," 22 Sep. 2017

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

1630, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for copulate

Latin copulatus, past participle of copulare to join, from copula — see copula

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about copulate

Time Traveler for copulate

Time Traveler

The first known use of copulate was in 1630

See more words from the same year

Statistics for copulate

Cite this Entry

“Copulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for copulate


How to pronounce copulate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of copulate

formal : to have sexual intercourse
cop·​u·​late | \ ˈkäp-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce copulate (audio) \
copulated; copulating

Medical Definition of copulate

1 : to engage in sexual intercourse
2 of gametes : to fuse permanently — compare conjugate sense 1

Other Words from copulate

copulation \ ˌkäp-​yə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce copulation (audio) \ noun
copulatory \ ˈkäp-​yə-​lə-​ˌtōr-​ē, -​ˌtȯr-​ How to pronounce copulatory (audio) \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on copulate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for copulate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with copulate

Spanish Central: Translation of copulate

Nglish: Translation of copulate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on copulate

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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