do·​mes·​ti·​ca·​tion də-ˌme-sti-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce domestication (audio)
: the act or process of domesticating something or someone or the state of being domesticated: such as
: the adaptation of a plant or animal from a wild or natural state (as by selective breeding) to life in close association with humans
Wild and feral dogs are hunters, but domestication and differential breeding have modified breed and individual predatory motivation.Julia Albright
Horse domestication revolutionized transport, communications, and warfare in prehistory, yet the identification of early domestication processes has been problematic.Alan K. Outram et al.
: the process of adapting someone or the state of being adapted to domestic life
But my father-in-law was also the very soul of domestication and familial responsibility, a man of regular habits who tied up his garbage with the spare lengths of string he collected in a Maxwell House coffee can …Garret Keizer
: the adaptation of something to meet the expectations or tastes of ordinary people
When you think about it, the whole buzzy excitement surrounding The Aristocrats, with its torrents of obscenity, points to another new phenomenon this summer: the domestication of raunch.Gregory Kirschling

Examples of domestication in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web However, evidence shows that through genomic selection and domestication, a new non-toxic variety was developed and cultivated around the time of the Pharaohs. Delaney Nothaft, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2023 With enough samples, scientists could analyze the ancient genome and compare it to modern plants to trace the history of madder plant domestication. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Oct. 2023 This is a chance to see the birth of sports announcers, the first domestication of canines, the various ways that vases were the tabloids of their time and, through one of Hippocampus’ investigations, the origins of criminal forensics. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Sep. 2023 The sound of these meows has evolved during domestication to more effectively communicate with us. Jonathan Losos, Discover Magazine, 10 Aug. 2023 Other investigators thought domestication first happened in the Caucasus. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, 19 Sep. 2023 Additionally, the study created a general timeline of carrot domestication and found more evidence that carrots were domesticated in the 9th or 10th century CE in western and central Asia. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 28 Sep. 2023 Add a layer of domestication, and cattle become even more familiar. WIRED, 26 Aug. 2023 The most significant evolutionary changes during cat domestication involve their behavior. Jonathan Losos, Discover Magazine, 10 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1718, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of domestication was in 1718

Dictionary Entries Near domestication

Cite this Entry

“Domestication.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

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