\ ˈkəl \
culled; culling; culls

Definition of cull 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to select from a group : choose culled the best passages from the poet's work Damaged fruits are culled before the produce is shipped.
2 : to reduce or control the size of (something, such as a herd) by removal (as by hunting) of especially weaker animals also : to hunt or kill (animals) as a means of population control The town issued hunting licenses in order to cull the deer population.



Definition of cull (Entry 2 of 2)

: something rejected especially as being inferior or worthless … how to separate good-looking pecans from culls.The Washington Post

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Other Words from cull


culler noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for cull

Synonyms: Verb

cherry-pick, choose, elect, handpick, name, opt (for), pick, prefer, select, single (out), tag, take

Synonyms: Noun

discard, reject, rejection, second

Antonyms: Verb

decline, refuse, reject, turn down

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Examples of cull in a Sentence


He culls his herd annually. The town issued hunting licenses in order to cull the deer population.


the unbruised apples will be packed in bags, and the culls will be used for cider
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The flesh-people cower in bubble-homes, controlled by Central Whip and culled en masse in Joy Stadiums. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: Rediscovering a Golden-Age Treasure," 28 Dec. 2018 Democratic Party officials have culled the list of potential host cities for the 2020 Democratic National Convention from eight to four, and Houston is still in the mix, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday. Mike Morris, Houston Chronicle, "Houston makes short list for the 2020 Democratic National Convention," 20 June 2018 This data, culled from Le Monde, is fascinating; every region of the world witnessed youth revolts of assorted varieties. Alan Wolfe, The New Republic, "A Most Violent Year," 18 May 2018 Things like culling — often done with deer — are handled by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Payton said. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora Animal Control focusing on domestic animals rather than wildlife," 18 May 2018 Not satisfied with culling his own planet, Thanos has continued on a mission to eliminate half the life in the universe, and needs the Infinity Stones to do so. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Avengers: Infinity War isn’t the best Marvel movie. But it’s Marvel’s most daring.," 24 Apr. 2018 Michael Lai, poached from IBM, wrote the Sixers’ proprietary programs that synthesize that wealth information culled from the league. Marcus Hayes,, "Analytics-driven Sixers ride the numbers to NBA playoffs," 18 Apr. 2018 After receiving more than 200 proposals, Amazon culled those to 20 finalists in January. Rani Molla, Recode, "Amazon’s HQ2 announcement is imminent. Here’s a look at the final contenders.," 15 Oct. 2018 The survey not only culls visitor numbers and travel spending data—think airline ticket purchases, souvenir buying—but also predicts where people will be visiting within the next year. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "The 10 Most Popular Cities of 2018," 25 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The massive cull, which spanned 420 square miles, began in 2011. James Rogers, Fox News, "Rat attack: World's largest rodent cull clears predators from Atlantic island," 9 May 2018 Overwhelmed by the numbers and dismayed by the futility of the cull, Berlin wildlife commissioner Derk Ehlert instead turned to the private sector. Fox News, "Can't beat 'em? Eat 'em! Berlin captures, cooks crayfish," 11 June 2018 Overwhelmed by the numbers and dismayed by the futility and waste of the crayfish cull, Berlin wildlife commissioner Derk Ehlert instead turned to the private sector. Washington Post, "Can’t beat ‘em? Eat ‘em! Berlin captures, cooks crayfish," 11 June 2018 The former want culls of the wolves; the latter emphasise better protection for livestock and resettlement of problematic packs. The Economist, "A growing wolf population presents German politicians with a conundrum," 12 May 2018 But some ecologists suggest that the culls are damaging, and that the population estimates are over-optimistic. The Economist, "The culling of kangaroos divides Australia," 15 Mar. 2018 Previous Snap culls, which took place last year and earlier this year, were smaller than that now being reported, measuring a dozen or two apiece. David Meyer, Fortune, "Snap Stock Slips as Snapchat Maker Prepares For a Fresh Round of Job Cuts," 8 Mar. 2018 The university's first and only other cull was in 2015. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "15 deer killed in first two days of cull at U-M Dearborn; hunt resumes Wednesday," 26 Feb. 2018 Over the last century, the chamber has staved off most efforts to decrease its size, although there was a big cull of hereditary peers at the end of the 20th century under then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. Jenny Gross, WSJ, "Talk About Peer Pressure! U.K.’s House of Lords Prepares to Get Smaller," 15 Dec. 2017

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1809, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cull

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French culier, coillir, from Latin colligere to bind together — more at collect

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Dictionary Entries near cull






cull board


Statistics for cull

Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cull

The first known use of cull was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for cull



English Language Learners Definition of cull

: to select or choose (someone or something) from a group

: to control the size of (a group of animals) by killing some animals


\ ˈkəl \
culled; culling

Kids Definition of cull

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to select from a group The best poems were culled from her collection.
2 : to identify and remove less desirable members from cull sheep from a flock



Kids Definition of cull (Entry 2 of 2)

: something rejected from a group because it is not as good as the rest

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More from Merriam-Webster on cull

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cull

Spanish Central: Translation of cull

Nglish: Translation of cull for Spanish Speakers

Comments on cull

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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