pop·​u·​late | \ ˈpä-pyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce populate (audio) \
populated; populating

Definition of populate

transitive verb

1 : to have a place in : occupy, inhabit
2a : to furnish or provide with inhabitants : people
b : to provide with members

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Synonyms & Antonyms for populate



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Examples of populate in a Sentence

Immigrants began to populate the area in the late 19th century. Strange creatures populate the ocean depths.
Recent Examples on the Web Spanning Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, the Navajo Nation is vast yet sparsely populated: about 175,000 people live on the reservation, which is larger than 10 U.S. states. AZCentral.com, "New map gives detailed picture of coronavirus outbreak on Navajo Nation," 22 May 2020 Even before Friday's confirmation that in-person church service could resume, the Brandywine Facebook page was populated with posts promoting Sunday's gatherings and announcing that social-distancing rules that would be in place. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "'Welcome back home': Spirits high as in-person services resume at Greenfield church," 10 May 2020 These days, no more than three people populate the kitchen. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, "Frank Ruta’s roast chicken, Rasika’s palak chaat and more takeout wins from D.C.’s top chefs," 8 May 2020 Daniels has populated the world of Lakeview with all sorts of strange wonders, from Nathan's talking-dog therapist to a hacker black market just outside the cyber resort's borders. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "How Amazon's 'poignant' and timely 'Upload' imagines a digital afterlife of the future," 1 May 2020 Some beaches in Australia are reopening for limited purposes, and children are returning to school in the country's vast, sparsely populated Northern Territory. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for April 20: Coronavirus, tests, Nova Scotia, small biz, One World," 20 Apr. 2020 It is populated by an odd mix of proxies, holdouts, and returning pioneers. Christopher Preston, The Atlantic, "Conservationists No Longer Agree on What ‘Wild’ Means," 9 Apr. 2020 As far as a lot of people, this area is not populated at all. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Coronavirus in Ohio: Miami University fraternity brothers help process 21,000 meals for seniors," 8 Apr. 2020 Both neighborhoods are heavily populated by immigrants who live in close quarters, often with multiple families sharing... Katie Honan, WSJ, "The New York Neighborhoods With the Most Coronavirus Cases," 2 Apr. 2020

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

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for populate

Medieval Latin populatus, past participle of populare to people, from Latin populus people

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Time Traveler for populate

Time Traveler

The first known use of populate was in 1578

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Statistics for populate

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Populate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/populate. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for populate


How to pronounce populate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of populate

: to live in (a country, city, area, etc.) : to make up the population of (a place)


pop·​u·​late | \ ˈpä-pyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce populate (audio) \
populated; populating

Kids Definition of populate

1 : to live in : inhabit
2 to provide with inhabitants

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Comments on populate

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