\ ˈkəl How to pronounce cull (audio) \
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 or slaughter) of especially weak or sick individuals The town issued hunting licenses in order to cull the deer population. culling a herd of cattle also : to hunt or kill (individuals) for culling culling diseased cows culled hundreds of deer



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

State crews had culled live eggs June 4 from a site along Cottonwood Creek west of Buena Vista and raised the tadpoles at the Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility in Alamosa. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "Battle to save Colorado high-country toads goes microbial with ground-breaking Purple Rain treatment," 13 July 2019 In recent years Beijing has supplemented its internal spying with high-tech methods, such as culling data from digitized personal records—including medical records—and surveillance cameras equipped with facial-recognition software. Christopher Porter And Brian Finch, WSJ, "What Does Beijing Want With Your Medical Records?," 20 June 2019 Although the Vietnamese government compensates farmers who report sick pigs that are subsequently culled, the fear of slow or low payments can still put farmers off. The Economist, "African swine fever spreads to South-East Asia," 20 June 2019 While many of the facial recognition sets are culled from public websites like Flickr, that is not the only way companies obtain pictures of faces. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Microsoft Removes Face Recognition Photos Amid Privacy Controversy," 7 June 2019 Play with them on for zany fun that drives every player equally insane; turn them down and cull your favorites for some classic, Mario Kart-style juice; or turn them off for pure Smash combat. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Smash Bros. Ultimate review: The best fighting game on any Nintendo system," 6 Dec. 2018 Most are culled from his KCBS and KNBC interviews dating to the 1970s. Susan King,, "Faced with cancer, longtime showbiz reporter David Sheehan looks back at his lifetime of celebrity interviews," 27 June 2019 Captain Joe Pavelski and Braun were culled in the seventh round. Ross Mckeon,, "Sharks’ draft outlook: hurry up and wait," 20 June 2019 Pattis said there are more than 9.3 million emails that need to be culled in the search for specific ones that name Sandy Hook victims or their families and the gunman, Adam Lanza, among others. Dave Altimari,, "Alex Jones offers $1M reward as FBI investigates child pornography planted on his Infowars server," 14 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There had been some sort of soda cull, and Diet Dr Pepper Cherry had not made the cut. John Kelly, Washington Post, "A real bread-and-butter issue: What kind of sandwich are you?," 14 July 2019 Well, despite Captain Marvel's massive box office cull, there's no word of a Captain Marvel sequel yet. Rachel Paige,, "What Is The Next Marvel Movie After Spider-Man: Far From Home?," 5 July 2019 According to Mauritius’s Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, yields of these fruits have actually decreased since the culls began. Rachel Nuwer, National Geographic, "These endangered bats are being killed by the thousands—here’s why," 1 Mar. 2019 The obvious thing to do was to dump WEIF in the cull, but after Mr Woodford slashed his fee again, to 0.5%, Mr Dampier kept him. The Economist, "The Woodford affair ensnares middle England’s favourite fund supermarket," 15 June 2019 As revealed at the end of Infinity War, Captain Marvel represents Nick Fury’s ace in the hole and the last hope against Thanos and his universe-shattering cull. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Captain Marvel and the future of the Avengers, explained," 18 Sep. 2018 While the government is pushing for softer measures such as sterilization for the pigs and education for humans who feed them, others say the solution is a full-scale cull of the swine. Alice Fung, The Seattle Times, "In year of the pig, Hong Kong has had enough of wild ones," 6 Feb. 2019 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

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

19 Jul 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 How to pronounce cull (audio) \
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

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


to complain fretfully

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