cross-pol·​li·​nate ˈkrȯs-ˈpä-lə-ˌnāt How to pronounce cross-pollinate (audio)
cross-pollinated; cross-pollinating; cross-pollinates

transitive verb

: to subject to cross-pollination
Researchers …cross-pollinated Sub1 rice with a high-yielding, flavorful variety called Swarna, which is popular in India and Bangladesh.Tim Folger
In renewing their story option for The Phantom of the Opera on September 17, 1941, Universal Pictures intended to cross-pollinate their two most lucrative genres, horror movies and Deanna Durbin musicals.Scott MacQueen

intransitive verb

: to undergo cross-fertilization
… the real reason is that the humidity in the air causes it to cross-pollinate and consequently grow seeds.The New Yorker
… a company can determine whether moving its programmers closer to its designers actually improves teamwork, or whether Friday happy hours are a good way to get employees from different departments to cross-pollinate.Olga Khazan

Examples of cross-pollinate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Online conspiracy groups habitually cross-pollinate in this way. Peter Guest, WIRED, 26 Mar. 2024 Tanju said that there are no current plans to cross-pollinate Fila+ and Palace. Luke Leitch, Vogue, 12 Jan. 2024 Meanwhile, Joseph Lofthouse—a Mormon who took a vow of poverty to become a farmer—expounded on the benefits of landrace gardening, a form of plant breeding and cross-pollinating that any amateur gardener can try their hand at. Liam Hess, Vogue, 24 Oct. 2023 The lessons would all culminate in Hi/Fi Tex-Mex BBQ, an 84-seat patio concept that, like countless Texas establishments, seamlessly cross-pollinates between two of the Lone Star State’s most popular cuisines until the line between them is practically erased. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2023 What to plant in your fall garden — besides mums Hybrids, on the other hand, have been cross-pollinated between two seed lines, often for specific traits, such as better taste, yield or disease resistance. Lauren David, Washington Post, 3 Oct. 2023 The network also cross-pollinates its sports programming, bringing its MLB stars to some of its NFL coverage (Jeter made his Fox debut on Fox’s Super Bowl pre-game show), and its NASCAR coverage. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 July 2023 João Donato, a Brazilian composer, musician and producer who was a pioneer of bossa nova and who went on to cross-pollinate music across the Americas, died on Monday in Rio de Janeiro. Jon Pareles, New York Times, 21 July 2023 Collaborative projects between public gardens have aimed to track the genetics of their corpse flowers and even cross-pollinate them to introduce more diversity, as Doug Johnson reported for Undark in 2021. Victoria Sayo Turner, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cross-pollinate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1900, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of cross-pollinate was circa 1900

Dictionary Entries Near cross-pollinate

Cite this Entry

“Cross-pollinate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to subject to cross-pollination
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