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

Definition of depopulate

transitive verb

1 obsolete : ravage
2 : to reduce greatly the population of

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Other Words from depopulate

depopulation \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌpä-​pyə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce depopulate (audio) \ noun

Examples of depopulate in a Sentence

Large areas of the country had been depopulated by disease.
Recent Examples on the Web Cities balloon or depopulate over the course of decades. Matt Simon, Wired, "See Earth Transform Like You're a Time-Traveling Astronaut," 14 Oct. 2020 The filing also makes broader allegations that cleaning at the states’ prisons is insufficient in light of COVID-19 and that the system remains crowded, despite some efforts to depopulate it. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "Medically vulnerable prisoners sue Colorado prison system over coronavirus threat, lack of care," 28 May 2020 Patterson's co-op made the tough decision to depopulate and euthanize nearly 3,400 pigs, worth about $500,000. Jack Turman, CBS News, "COVID-19 exacts a high cost from Minnesota hog farmers," 9 June 2020 The areas that were thereby depopulated remained so for a long time thereafter; many became the wildlife reserves for which Tanzania is famous today. Carey Baraka, Quartz Africa, "I am alive because my Kenyan great-grandfather quarantined 100 years ago and here we go again," 26 Apr. 2020 Advocates say that by 2024 the spaceport will bring as much as £79 million in economic activity to the rapidly depopulating region, whose young people have to head far south to Inverness or Edinburgh to find work. Dayna Evans,, "The U.K. Space Agency Has a Scottish Peat Bog Problem," 9 May 2020 Michele Minton, the director of live operations for Allen Harim Foods, told growers in a letter on April 8 that it would be forced to start depopulating chickens on April 10. Christine Hauser, New York Times, "Nearly 2 Million Chickens Killed as Poultry Workers Are Sidelined," 28 Apr. 2020 Already, a number of county jails have moved to depopulate their facilities because of the coronavirus, which as of Friday has infected more than 3,300 people in Ohio, killing 91. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Gov. Mike DeWine asks judges to consider releasing some Ohio inmates due to coronavirus threat," 3 Apr. 2020 The smart thing to do is before the virus takes off in a jail or prison to depopulate it safely and quickly. Ryan Prior, CNN, "A Crisis in Our Prisons: Dr. Sanjay Gupta's coronavirus podcast for April 14," 14 Apr. 2020

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

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for depopulate

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

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Time Traveler for depopulate

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The first known use of depopulate was in 1548

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Cite this Entry

“Depopulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of depopulate

: to greatly reduce the number of people living in (a city, region, etc.)

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Britannica English: Translation of depopulate for Arabic Speakers

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