pol·​li·​nate | \ ˈpä-lə-ˌnāt How to pronounce pollinate (audio) \
pollinated; pollinating

Definition of pollinate

transitive verb

1 : to carry out the pollination of
2 : to mark or smudge with pollen

Examples of pollinate in a Sentence

The plants are pollinated by bees.
Recent Examples on the Web California’s almond farmers alone rent over a million commercial beehives to pollinate their trees every year. Rachel Fritts, Ars Technica, "A new pesticide is all the buzz," 18 Oct. 2019 Like how the beauty of a flower visually attracts bees to feed on its nectar, in turn serving the purpose to pollinate seeds. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, "Will Your Home Soon Be Made of Green Charcoal Bricks?," 22 Sep. 2019 While monarch butterflies have been slightly increasing in number, ecosystems still need more in order to pollinate plants and bring beauty to gardens and yards. Rachel K. Hindery, chicagotribune.com, "Monarch butterfly event to let fans discover, raise them, sign the monarch pledge," 31 Aug. 2019 Manuel Choqque works on cross-pollinating high-altitude potato strains once used by the Incas. Jill K. Robinson, National Geographic, "Gordon Ramsay Adventures in Peru’s Sacred Valley," 2 July 2019 For example, bees help plants reproduce by pollinating them. H. Resit Akcakaya, The Conversation, "How do we know when a species at risk has recovered? It’s not just a matter of numbers," 7 Nov. 2019 Frontman Nahko Bear embodies the hybridized fruitfully cross-pollinated complexity of true American life. John Adamian, courant.com, "Best Bets: Seven concerts not to miss this week," 22 Sep. 2019 But the Pollinator Stewardship Council, an advocacy organization that documents the effects of pesticides on pollinating insects, and others in the industry petitioned for a review of that decision. BostonGlobe.com, "Beekeepers confront the EPA over pesticides - The Boston Globe," 13 Sep. 2019 Not only do bees, butterflies, and other insects pollinate one-third of all food crops, declining insect numbers can also have catastrophic ecological repercussions. National Geographic, "Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides," 6 Aug. 2019

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

1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for pollinate

Time Traveler

The first known use of pollinate was in 1873

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Statistics for pollinate

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Pollinate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pollinate. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for pollinate


How to pronounce pollinate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pollinate

: to give (a plant) pollen from another plant of the same kind so that seeds will be produced


pol·​li·​nate | \ ˈpä-lə-ˌnāt How to pronounce pollinate (audio) \
pollinated; pollinating

Kids Definition of pollinate

: to transfer or carry pollen from a stamen to a pistil of a flower or from a male cone to a female cone Bees are pollinating the clover.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pollinate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pollinate

Spanish Central: Translation of pollinate

Nglish: Translation of pollinate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pollinate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pollinate

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heavy with or as if with moisture

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