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 Athletes from girls and boys sports populate his office now early in the weekend. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, "New Moeller baseball field to be named after Kremchek family doctors who served school," 29 Apr. 2021 In total, more than 200,00 honeybees will populate the beehive colonies. Elizabeth Brownfield, Forbes, "For Earth Day, Mandarin Oriental Miami Increases Its Rooftop Honeybee Population And Launches Honey-Centric Guest Experiences," 21 Apr. 2021 Three folders populate the Start Menu by default: Documents, Pictures, and Settings. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "How to get rid of all the junk in your Windows 10 Start menu," 11 Apr. 2021 And then, how do animators even populate a supernatural world with characters that cannot appear to be as solid and corporal as Earthbound creatures? Washington Post, "Pixar’s ‘Soul’ raises a big question for our surreal year: ‘What am I doing with my time on earth?’," 25 Dec. 2020 At the most basic level, the NCAA is the schools and conferences, whose employees populate the myriad committees that determine rules and policies on sport-by-sport and/or issue-by-issue basis. USA Today, "'I assumed they were treating us fairly:' Why can't NCAA get women's basketball right?," 27 Mar. 2021 And right when the group saw the SMU logo populate the screen in a matchup against Boise State, SMU immediately transitioned to practice. Kevin Reynolds, Dallas News, "SMU using week before NIT as conditioning crash course," 17 Mar. 2021 Keith Gabbett, brewmaster, says the shanty was inspired by the classic Italian ice stands that populate the city during warmer weather. Jeanette Hurt, Forbes, "Goose Island Beer Co. Turns 312 Day Celebration Into Giant Lemon Drop," 9 Mar. 2021 Our test car was thus equipped and also showcased the plethora of electronic gadgets that populate the compact Mercedes models. Jens Meiners, Car and Driver, "The 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA250 Is a Half-Hearted EV," 5 Mar. 2021

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

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Populate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/populate. Accessed 5 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for populate



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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