de·​pop·​u·​late (ˌ)dē-ˈpä-pyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce depopulate (audio)
depopulated; depopulating; depopulates

transitive verb

obsolete : ravage
: to reduce greatly the population of

Examples of depopulate in a Sentence

Large areas of the country had been depopulated by disease.
Recent Examples on the Web Working together and family-friendly policies Last year, Professor Spears published an opinion piece in The New York Times about the challenges of a depopulating world. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Mar. 2024 The prime minister’s far-right buddies want to depopulate Gaza and exile its Palestinians to other countries, creating a second nakba that would leave the land open to new Jewish settlements. Aluf Benn, Foreign Affairs, 7 Feb. 2024 Nevertheless, the hospitals were depopulated and seven of them were closed. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, 24 Feb. 2024 The modern Turkish state ended up relocating to Anatolia in the east, constituting itself across the vastness of the Asia Minor plateau, including in traditionally Kurdish areas and those recently depopulated of Armenians in eastern Anatolia. Soner Cagaptay, Foreign Affairs, 19 Feb. 2024 Since October up until today, there are 16 entire villages in the West Bank that have been depopulated. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 17 Feb. 2024 In capturing a few square miles of demolished and depopulated urban terrain, the Kremlin has sacrificed almost exactly an entire mechanized division’s worth of tanks. David Axe, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 In Gaza war, Israel’s radical settlers see an opportunity to expand Netanyahu and senior defense officials maintain that Israel’s military objective is to defeat Hamas, not to depopulate the strip of Palestinians. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2023 In an effort to prevent spread of the disease, all birds on the properties were depopulated and the businesses will not be allowed to move poultry products. Journal Sentinel, 6 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'depopulate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin depopulatus, past participle of depopulari, from de- + populari to ravage

First Known Use

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of depopulate was in 1548

Dictionary Entries Near depopulate

Cite this Entry

“Depopulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​pop·​u·​late (ˈ)dē-ˈpäp-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce depopulate (audio)
: to reduce greatly the population of (as a city or region) by destroying or driving away the inhabitants
depopulated by plague

More from Merriam-Webster on depopulate

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