do·​mes·​ti·​ca·​tion | \ də-ˌme-sti-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce domestication (audio) \

Definition of domestication

: the act or process of domesticating something or someone or the state of being domesticated: such as
a : 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.
b : 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
c : 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

First Known Use of domestication

1718, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About domestication

Time Traveler for domestication

Time Traveler

The first known use of domestication was in 1718

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near domestication




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for domestication

Cite this Entry

“Domestication.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on domestication

Britannica English: Translation of domestication for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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