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

But populations descended from those that domesticated milk-producing animals such as goats and cattle often retain lactose-digestion into adulthood. The Economist, "Modern humans may be evolving to deal with carbohydrate-rich diets," 7 June 2019 Cats, on the other hand, pretty much domesticated themselves when wildcats followed mice and rats into agricultural settlements. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "Cats know their names—why it's harder for them than dogs," 4 Apr. 2019 Fossil bones allow archaeologists to recognize when species such as dogs, goats and pigs became domesticated. Richard Wrangham, WSJ, "Humans: The Domesticated Primates," 10 Jan. 2019 Which is likely why early attempts to domesticate the notoriously skittish gazelle (seriously) didn’t succeed. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Why Are Some Animals Impossible To Domesticate?," 13 Mar. 2019 His answer is that bonobos have domesticated themselves. John Hawks, WSJ, "‘The Goodness Paradox’ Review: The Benefits of Good Breeding," 25 Jan. 2019 Any study that compares wild and domesticated animals suffers from the fact that the first wild and domesticated populations are no longer around, Sánchez-Villagra notes. Elizabeth Gamillo, Science | AAAS, "Why your pet rabbit is more docile than its wild relative," 25 June 2018 According to the latter studies, South Americans domesticated sweet potatoes, which were then acquired by Polynesians. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "All by Itself, the Humble Sweet Potato Colonized the World," 12 Apr. 2018 But where Theobroma cacao was domesticated has been a matter of debate. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "Chocolate has been around for millennia. New research suggests it’s even older than we thought.," 31 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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.

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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

16 Jun 2019

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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
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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on domesticate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with domesticate

Spanish Central: Translation of domesticate

Nglish: Translation of domesticate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of domesticate for Arabic Speakers

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