in·​ter·​breed | \ ˌin-tər-ˈbrēd How to pronounce interbreed (audio) \
interbred\ ˌin-​tər-​ˈbred How to pronounce interbreed (audio) \; interbreeding

Definition of interbreed

intransitive verb

: to breed together: such as
b : to breed within a closed population

transitive verb

: to cause to breed together

Examples of interbreed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It is known as the biological species concept, and posits that a species is a collection of populations of organisms that interbreed or could potentially do so. Zach St. George, Harper's Magazine, "Birds of a Feather," 27 Apr. 2021 Genetic analysis confirmed the two species do not interbreed. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Tiny differences in plumage and song have split two nearly identical birds into different species," 25 Mar. 2021 The dire wolf didn't seem to interbreed with other species — as dogs, wolves, coyotes and other canids do. Star Tribune, "Dire wolf ran into evolutionary dead end," 28 Jan. 2021 Studying Canada goose migrations can be challenging; even bird biologists can’t tell migrant and resident geese apart by appearance; the populations also mix and interbreed. Brian Handwerk, Animals, "Do Canada geese still fly south for winter? Yes, but it's complicated," 16 Dec. 2020 The new data also show that fall-run and spring-run salmon often interbreed, Anderson says. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Salmon study sheds light on why fall-run fish are bigger than their spring-run cousins," 29 Oct. 2020 Their data indicated that a wave of modern humans left Africa for Europe about 200,000 years ago and interbred with Neanderthals, before migrating back to Africa. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Mysterious 'ghost population' of ancient humans discovered," 13 Feb. 2020 An earlier version of this model had been designed to estimate how much modern humans and Neanderthals interbred. Quanta Magazine, "Genetics Spills Secrets From Neanderthals’ Lost History," 18 Sep. 2017 Federal wildlife authorities now support about 11,000 genetically pure bison with only the slightest traces of cattle interbreeding. Washington Post, "Time ticks away at wild bison genetic diversity," 3 Nov. 2019

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

1859, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Time Traveler for interbreed

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The first known use of interbreed was in 1859

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Statistics for interbreed

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Interbreed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for interbreed



English Language Learners Definition of interbreed

: to cause animals of two different species to produce young animals that are a mixture of the two species


in·​ter·​breed | \ ˌint-ər-ˈbrēd How to pronounce interbreed (audio) \
interbred\ -​ˈbred How to pronounce interbreed (audio) \; interbreeding

Medical Definition of interbreed

intransitive verb

: to breed together: as
b : to breed within a closed population

transitive verb

: to cause to breed together

More from Merriam-Webster on interbreed

Nglish: Translation of interbreed for Spanish Speakers

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