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do·​mes·​ti·​cate də-ˈme-sti-ˌkāt How to pronounce domesticate (audio)
domesticated; domesticating

transitive verb

: to bring into use in one's own country : to bring into domestic use : adopt
started to domesticate European customs
: 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
: to cause to become adapted to life in a household : to make fit for domestic life
wasn't interested in becoming domesticated
: to bring to the level of ordinary people


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do·​mes·​ti·​cate də-ˈme-sti-kət How to pronounce domesticate (audio)
: a domesticated (see domesticate entry 1 sense 2) animal or plant

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
Kitty Snows is a cat who participated in the Blue Collar Cat program, a scheme to rehome strays that cannot be domesticated (having witnessed too much on the streets). Longreads, 17 May 2024 Finding a straightforward answer is tricky, especially when not even domesticated animals like dogs and cats receive proper treatment all the time. Katie Liu, Discover Magazine, 2 May 2024
As the world’s first domesticates, dogs were tamed and domesticated gradually through the generations. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 11 Jan. 2024 These animals and crops were gradually joined by China’s many other domesticates. Jared Diamond, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 See all Example Sentences for domesticate 

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

Word History



see domestic entry 1


see domestic entry 1

First Known Use


circa 1639, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1951, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of domesticate was circa 1639

Dictionary Entries Near domesticate

Cite this Entry

“Domesticate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


domesticated; domesticating
: to adapt to living with human beings and to serving their purposes
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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