domesticate

verb
do·mes·ti·cate | \də-ˈme-sti-ˌkāt \
domesticated; domesticating

Definition of domesticate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to bring into use in one's own country : to bring into domestic use : adopt started to domesticate European customs

2 : to adapt (an animal or plant) over time from a wild or natural state especially by selective breeding to life in close association with and to the benefit of humans The Asian equids, including the now-endangered Przewalski's horse, apparently provided the stock from which the horse was domesticated five to six thousand years ago.— Bruce J. MacFadden But every reader addicted to coffee can thank ancient Ethiopian farmers for domesticating the coffee plant.— Jared Diamond

3 : to cause to become adapted to life in a household : to make fit for domestic life wasn't interested in becoming domesticated

4 : to bring to the level of ordinary people

domesticate

noun
do·mes·ti·cate | \-kət, -ˌkāt\

Definition of domesticate (Entry 2 of 2)

: a domesticated (see domesticate entry 1 sense 2) animal or plant

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Other Words from domesticate

Verb

domestication \-ˌmes-ti-ˈkā-shən \ noun

Examples of domesticate in a Sentence

Verb

Horses and oxen have been domesticated to work on farms. She jokes that dogs are easier to domesticate than men.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Dogs, which were domesticated at least 15,000 years ago, came over to North America with humans from Siberia, but perhaps not with the first wave of migration. James Gorman, New York Times, "The Lost Dogs of the Americas," 5 July 2018 Together with another cut tooth from around the same time, the discovery shows that about 2000 years after horses were first domesticated, people were still figuring out the best way to take care of their teeth using basic stone tools. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "3000-year-old sawn-off tooth may be the earliest evidence of horse dentistry," 2 July 2018 An analysis of the data revealed that the earliest dogs in North America arrived here already domesticated more than 10,000 years ago. Deborah Netburn, latimes.com, "North America's first dogs were domesticated in Siberia, but their descendants are all gone," 5 July 2018 Native to the Andes in Peru and northwest Bolivia, potatoes were domesticated more than 10,000 years ago. Madhur Jaffrey, New York Times, "The Humble Potato Is Exalted in the Mountains of Peru," 16 Apr. 2018 But every so often strains from wild birds kill domesticated chickens and turkeys, and threaten pigs or even people, too. Washington Post, "Bird flu hot spot: Scientists track virus in huge migration," 28 June 2018 In the early 1900s, it was widely believed that blueberries could not be domesticated. Ashleigh Spitza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Little blue dynamos,' blueberries pack in flavor and nutrients," 11 June 2018 Humans and their cattle, pigs, and other livestock outweigh wild mammals by more than 20-fold; similarly, domesticated fowl surpass all other birds. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Plants outweigh all other life on Earth," 21 May 2018 The traits can be traced back thousands of years, when early humans first started domesticating animals and breeding them to suit their needs. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Why Do Some Dogs Have Floppy Ears? Listen Up: Science Has the Answer," 30 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So if ants are growing wet habitat-loving fungi, and remove them to a dry habitat, that's sort of like humans taking one of their domesticates out of its native range. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "How Ants Became the World’s Best Fungus Farmers," 12 Apr. 2017 So if ants are growing wet habitat-loving fungi, and remove them to a dry habitat, that's sort of like humans taking one of their domesticates out of its native range. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "How Ants Became the World’s Best Fungus Farmers," 12 Apr. 2017

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

Verb

circa 1639, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1951, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for domesticate

Verb

see domestic entry 1

Noun

see domestic entry 1

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Statistics for domesticate

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for domesticate

The first known use of domesticate was circa 1639

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More Definitions for domesticate

domesticate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of domesticate

: to breed or train (an animal) to need and accept the care of human beings : to tame (an animal)

: to grow (a plant) for human use

: to train (someone) to behave in an appropriate way at home (such as by using good manners, being polite, being helpful, etc.)

domesticate

verb
do·mes·ti·cate | \də-ˈme-sti-ˌkāt \
domesticated; domesticating

Kids Definition of domesticate

: to bring under the control of and make usable by humans Humans domesticated dogs thousands of years ago.

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