domesticate

verb
do·​mes·​ti·​cate | \ də-ˈme-sti-ˌkāt How to pronounce domesticate (audio) \
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 | \ də-ˈme-sti-kət How to pronounce domesticate (audio) , -ˌkāt \

Definition of domesticate (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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: Verb Santa Claus was part of a broader movement to domesticate the holiday by creating a warm, comforting family event centered around giving gifts to children. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "How Capitalism Saved Christmas," 25 Dec. 2020 Aquaculture projects worldwide are hustling to domesticate new species—a kind of gold rush rare in terrestrial farming. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "New genetic tools will deliver improved farmed fish, oysters, and shrimp. Here’s what to expect," 19 Nov. 2020 To do it in synagogue is almost to domesticate the shofar in this lovely environment inside. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "A break with Rosh Hashanah tradition: Shofars are coming outside this Jewish New Year," 18 Sep. 2020 Honey bees are technically native to Europe, but have been domesticated by humans for thousands of years. Lila Westreich, The Conversation, "Spring signals female bees to lay the next generation of pollinators," 1 May 2020 Located on a Colony farm in Palmer, this domesticated musk ox operation began in 1964. Bailey Berg, Anchorage Daily News, "Moose and whales and eagles, oh my! Where to view some Alaska wildlife — safely," 28 May 2020 In the past, researchers weakened viruses by growing them in lab conditions for long periods of time—which is a bit like domesticating germs. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "The Ars COVID-19 vaccine primer: 100-plus in the works, 8 in clinical trials," 1 May 2020 These centers of commerce, which operate much like a farmers’ market in Western nations, often sell or slaughter wildlife and domesticated animals on-site. Josh Petri, Bloomberg.com, "The Best Weapon Against a Future Pandemic," 10 May 2020 Compared with long domesticated livestock like chickens and pigs, researchers say less is known about the viruses that circulate in wild animals. Washington Post, "Virus renews safety concerns about slaughtering wild animals," 16 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many of the herbivores grazing the mixed scrub are tough domesticates standing in as surrogates for extinct species. Christopher Preston, The Atlantic, "Conservationists No Longer Agree on What ‘Wild’ Means," 9 Apr. 2020 The idea was first floated in 2016 when a group including University of São Paulo plant physiologist Lázaro Eustáquio Pereira Peres revealed a plan to re-domesticate tomatoes. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "A New Green Revolution: Scientists Are Using CRISPR to Re-domesticate Fruits and Vegetables," 15 Apr. 2019 Their brains are smaller than chimpanzees’, a shift also seen in many domesticates. John Hawks, WSJ, "‘The Goodness Paradox’ Review: The Benefits of Good Breeding," 25 Jan. 2019 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about domesticate

Time Traveler for domesticate

Time Traveler

The first known use of domesticate was circa 1639

See more words from the same year

Statistics for domesticate

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Domesticate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/domesticate. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for domesticate

domesticate

verb
How to pronounce domesticate (audio)

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
humorous : 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 How to pronounce domesticate (audio) \
domesticated; domesticating

Kids Definition of domesticate

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on domesticate

What made you want to look up domesticate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!