populate

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for populate

Synonyms

colonize, people, settle

Antonyms

depopulate, unpeople

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Known as the Kamchatka Peninsula, it is sparsely populated and filled with natural wonders like the Kronotsky Nature Reserve, known to some as Russia's Ring of Fire. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "A Meteor Hit Earth With the Force of a Nuclear Bomb and We Hardly Even Noticed," 18 Mar. 2019 Where Spelunky 2 differs is in the crazy amount of stuff that its worlds are populated with. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The 16 surprising new games that made PAX West an absolute blast," 9 Sep. 2018 Walmart's registry app will ask questions and pre-populate a list of customized registry options. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How Walmart's New Baby Registry Actually Works," 4 Apr. 2019 Hardest hit, unfortunately, will be those areas most populated by private colleges: New York, Pennsylvania, New England and around the Great Lakes. Allen C. Guelzo, WSJ, "America’s Disappearing Private Colleges," 21 Feb. 2019 Since the bursting of the commodity bubble in 2011, bankers and investors have predicted the thousands of small and midsize gold miners that populate this sector would merge. Ben Dummett, WSJ, "Investors Are Still Waiting for a Gold-Mining Merger Wave," 13 Mar. 2019 The gigantic dresses that populated Rodarte and Molly Goddard’s runways are camp in their own ways. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "The 7 Biggest Trends of the Fall 2019 Season," 12 Mar. 2019 However complicated things seem to get for the masters of the universe who populate the world of high finance in real life, there’s very little that can compare to the exploits of hedge fund honcho Bobby Axelrod on the Showtime series Billions. The Editors, Town & Country, "Everything We Know So Far About Season 4 of Billions," 20 Dec. 2018 And also a collage of time periods, from the classical Art Deco and Victorian shapes that populate her jewelry to the contemporary artistic sensibility of the Venice Beach area. Jenni Konner, ELLE Decor, "Jewelry Designer Irene Neuwirth Takes Us Inside Her Eclectic Los Angeles Home," 13 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about populate

Statistics for populate

Last Updated

13 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for populate

The first known use of populate was in 1578

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for populate

populate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of populate

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

populate

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on populate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with populate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for populate

Spanish Central: Translation of populate

Nglish: Translation of populate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of populate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on populate

What made you want to look up populate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!