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

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 Park officials also trap bison at the northern border, sending some to the slaughter while transferring others to populate new areas, including Native American lands, under the Bison Conservation Transfer Program. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Apr. 2022 In the waning days, the atheists launch two robots on a probe with a cargo of human embryos, with a mission to populate the habitable planet Kepler-22b. James Poniewozik, New York Times, 17 Mar. 2022 Though every brand now has a personal roster of celebrities to populate the audience, there’s still room—and need—for surprises. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 17 Mar. 2022 The legendary abstract artist died in 1973, but his work will continue to populate the art world via NFT. NBC News, 28 Jan. 2022 And pray that, in the future, Lipstein finds a way to populate his spellbinding stories with characters who can live off the page. Los Angeles Times, 18 Jan. 2022 Yes suffers the same fate as progressive rock brethren Rush, while Joan Baez’s importance as a folk icon and activist wasn’t enough to populate lists focused on the album era. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, 11 Jan. 2022 Fewer than two hundred thousand people live in the Arctic reaches of Alaska and Canada, and there are no large towns; the Soviet Union, by contrast, sought to populate its northeastern territories. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 Every day, new horror stories populate the internet sharing tales of unreasonable policies, lack of hair care, late appointments, cancellations, and just overall poor attitudes. Alexis Johnson, refinery29.com, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near populate

popular taste



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Statistics for populate

Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Populate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/populate. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for populate


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

More from Merriam-Webster on populate

Nglish: Translation of populate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of populate for Arabic Speakers


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