cul·​ti·​vate | \ ˈkəl-tə-ˌvāt How to pronounce cultivate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce cultivatable (audio) \ 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

Singapore is trying to cultivate an A.I. technology scene and remain a neutral A.I. player between China and the U.S., Bloomberg News reported. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Where A.I.’s Next Big Breakthrough May Come From: Eye on A.I.," 10 Sep. 2019 Here are seven tips outlining how to cultivate a work-life balance and draw healthy boundaries between your classroom/office and home lives. Annie Zaleski, The Courier-Journal, "7 tips for maintaining work-life balance while working in education," 6 Aug. 2019 Étienne Szeemann comes off as a mildly colorful character, who cultivated a reputation for chic modernity in hairdressing and served theatre and opera companies with flamboyant re-creations of historical styles. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Harald Szeemann’s Revolutionary Curating," 15 July 2019 But in 2019, that may no longer work as schools try to cultivate new ticket buyers and grow revenues. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts," 15 July 2019 Planting, cultivating and picking cotton on a large scale required labor, and as demand for cotton grew, so did the demand for slaves. William Thornton |,, "Cotton, once king in Alabama, still rules on these family farms," 14 July 2019 The decline has alarmed the U.S. agriculture industry, which worked for decades to cultivate China as a customer, and now see their crops displaced by South American competitors. Jacob Bunge, WSJ, "Cargill Profit Drops on Trade, Flooding Challenges," 11 July 2019 Since then, the country has taken an early lead in figuring out how to cultivate and market cannabis for consumers. Shafin Diamond Tejani, Quartz, "What Mark Twain can teach us about the weed industry," 29 June 2019 The new reciprocity fee is the latest in a string of moves by the Trump administration which targets Nigerians and other Africans which are having an on-ground effect of cultivating fake news and fear. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "The US is jacking up visa fees for Nigerians—based on a 2017 Trump order," 27 Aug. 2019

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

12 Oct 2019

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 How to pronounce cultivate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce cultivate (audio) \
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).


involving a confidence or trust

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