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



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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 In the face of overwhelming panic and overgrown sadness, people manage to cultivate the most beautiful plots of kindness and order. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, "The world is messy and hard to control. Take help, and give it, where you can.," 30 Dec. 2019 These days there’s no need to cultivate an herb garden or count sun salutations. Katie Jackson, USA TODAY, "Anti-aging resorts: 10 hotels and resorts promising to make travelers look (and feel) younger," 23 Dec. 2019 But even beyond the new avenues with which individuals can come out, social media's rise to prominence also presents artists with an opportunity to cultivate their own fanbases directly, regardless of what labels or industry wisdom tells them to do. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Queering the Mainstream: How Acceptance for LGBTQ Pop Stars Evolved In the 2010s," 20 Dec. 2019 The broadcasts of preseason NBA games were canceled and events in the country were met with protests, throwing a wrench into the league's push to cultivate loyal spectators and court powerful investors in the country. Linda Givetash, NBC News, "Soccer star Mesut Özil under fire for criticizing China's Muslim detention camps," 15 Dec. 2019 The trade unions have also moved sharply to the left since Mr Blair’s day, in part because New Labour failed to cultivate the moderate unions and in part because a succession of mergers has shifted power to radical activists from the public sector. The Economist, "Bagehot Jeremy Corbyn’s crushing defeat," 13 Dec. 2019 Florida dispensaries, which can grow marijuana only inside the state, have been scrambling to add space to cultivate whole flower. Marcia Heroux Pounds,, "Finally, you’ll be able to buy marijuana the way you want it," 2 Dec. 2019 The mussels come from the Amur and Yangtze rivers in China, and in some places are used to cultivate pearls. Wayne Parry,, "Giant invasive mussel species eradicated from New Jersey ponds," 29 Nov. 2019 There are many ways to cultivate a disposition of thankfulness. Richard Gunderman, The Conversation, "Are you as grateful as you deserve to be?," 26 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for cultivate

Time Traveler

The first known use of cultivate was in 1588

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Statistics for cultivate

Last Updated

5 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cultivate.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for cultivate


How to pronounce cultivate (audio)

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).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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