in·​breed·​ing | \ ˈin-ˈbrē-diŋ How to pronounce inbreeding (audio) \

Definition of inbreeding

1 : the interbreeding of closely related individuals especially to preserve and fix desirable characters of and to eliminate unfavorable characters from a stock
2 : confinement to a narrow range or a local or limited field of choice

Examples of inbreeding in a Sentence

genetic defects caused by inbreeding
Recent Examples on the Web Finally, there was a surprising lack of inbreeding. Jaco Greeff, Quartz, 6 June 2021 But rather than slowing down, the pace of inbreeding has accelerated. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, 28 May 2021 Genomic analyses also allow breeders to minimize inbreeding. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, 19 Nov. 2020 In that case, a Havasupai tribal member later discovered that the blood samples were used for other research purposes, including schizophrenia, ethnic migration, and population inbreeding, all of which are culturally taboo topics for the tribe. Amanda Morris, The Arizona Republic, 25 May 2021 Over time healthier koalas should replace those susceptible to disease and inbreeding. Gloria Dickie, Scientific American, 2 Mar. 2021 Although random mutations can give rise to the condition, dwarfism in captive animals has been associated with inbreeding and a lack of genetic diversity. Star Tribune, 14 Jan. 2021 But the genetics of Roopkund B, showing no sign of isolation or inbreeding, ruled this out, too. Douglas Preston, The New Yorker, 7 Dec. 2020 White tigers are bred to relatives in captivity to attract tourists – and inbreeding produces unhealthy offspring. Andrew Cushing, The Conversation, 23 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inbreeding.' 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 inbreeding

circa 1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for inbreeding

Time Traveler

The first known use of inbreeding was circa 1842

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Statistics for inbreeding

Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inbreeding.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for inbreeding



English Language Learners Definition of inbreeding

: a process by which animals, plants, or people are born from or produced by closely related parents


in·​breed·​ing | \ ˈin-ˈbrēd-iŋ How to pronounce inbreeding (audio) \

Medical Definition of inbreeding

: the interbreeding of closely related individuals especially to preserve and fix desirable characters of and to eliminate unfavorable characters from a stock — compare linebreeding, outbreeding

More from Merriam-Webster on inbreeding

Nglish: Translation of inbreeding for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about inbreeding


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