cul·​ti·​vate | \ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt \
cultivated; cultivating

Definition of cultivate 

transitive verb

1 : to prepare or prepare and use for the raising of crops Some fields are cultivated while others lie fallow. also : to loosen or break up the soil about (growing plants)

2a : to foster the growth of cultivate vegetables cultivate coffee

b : culture sense 2a cultivate oysters for pearls

c : to improve by labor, care, or study : refine cultivate the mind cultivated a reputation as a hard-core wheeler-dealer …— Kit Boss

3 : further, encourage cultivate the arts

4 : to seek the society of : make friends with looking for influential people to cultivate as friends

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Other Words from cultivate

cultivatable \ˈkəl-​tə-​ˌvā-​tə-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for cultivate


acquire, develop, form



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Examples of cultivate in a Sentence

Prehistoric peoples settled the area and began to cultivate the land. Some of the fields are cultivated while others lie fallow. a plant that is cultivated for its fruit They survived by cultivating vegetables and grain. He has carefully cultivated his image. She cultivated a taste for fine wines.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Influencers run all their photos through a specific preset in order to cultivate a specific aesthetic and make their feed look cohesive. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook has a growing morale problem," 15 Nov. 2018 Ford has worked hard to cultivate relationships with local government officials, with Mayor Muriel Bowser attending last month's announcement on DC's waterfront. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Walmart agrees to work with Ford on self-driving grocery delivery pilot," 14 Nov. 2018 Melipona Honey The ancient Mayans were experts at cultivating this rare honey, which is only harvested once a year from the hives of stingless bees. Christina Perez, Harper's BAZAAR, "These Ancient Rituals Should Be Your New Go-To Beauty Treatments," 15 Oct. 2018 Decompress with Mount Lai De-Puffing Jade Facial Roller, the perfect tool to cultivate a cool, effortless calm. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Virgo Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 2018 The location was aimed at cultivating closer ties between City Hall and the downtown college campus, said Royal Oak city engagement officer Judy Davids. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "Royal Oak mayor: We must avoid pricing residents out of housing market," 11 July 2018 MedMen on June 6 paid $53 million for Treadwell Nursery's five-acre cultivation facility in Eustis, giving it the right to cultivate the drug and open the stores. Mark Skoneki,, "Medical marijuana firm called Med Men sniffs out store locations in Orlando," 9 July 2018 The city’s plan to cultivate awareness about military and veterans culture will build upon a statewide program called Be Connected that works to reduce suicides among current and former service members. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "A plan to help veterans from 'the first minute' they leave the service," 27 June 2018 Today, the company unveiled a brand new program, Yellow, aimed at cultivating creative projects. Madeline Buxton,, "Got An Idea? You Could Get $150,000 From Snap," 23 May 2018

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

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cultivate

Medieval Latin cultivatus, past participle of cultivare, from cultivus cultivable, from Latin cultus, past participle of colere — see cult

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Statistics for cultivate

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cultivate

The first known use of cultivate was in 1588

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More Definitions for cultivate



English Language Learners Definition of cultivate

: to prepare and use (soil) for growing plants

: to grow and care for (plants)

: to grow or raise (something) under conditions that you can control


cul·​ti·​vate | \ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt \
cultivated; cultivating

Kids Definition of cultivate

1 : to prepare land for the raising of crops cultivate a field

2 : to raise or assist the growth of crops by tilling or by labor and care cultivate corn

3 : to improve or develop by careful attention, training, or study : devote time and thought to He's trying to cultivate a better attitude.

4 : to seek the company and friendship of As soon as Johnny began to cultivate Dove, he was surprised at the response.— Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain


transitive verb
cul·​ti·​vate | \ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt \
cultivated; cultivating

Medical Definition of cultivate 

: culture sense 1 viruses cultivated in brain tissue

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Comments on cultivate

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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