propagate

verb
prop·​a·​gate | \ ˈprä-pə-ˌgāt How to pronounce propagate (audio) \
propagated; propagating

Definition of propagate

transitive verb

1 : to cause to continue or increase by sexual or asexual reproduction
2 : to pass along to offspring
3a : to cause to spread out and affect a greater number or greater area : extend
b : to foster growing knowledge of, familiarity with, or acceptance of (something, such as an idea or belief) : publicize
c : to transmit (something, such as sound or light) through a medium

intransitive verb

1 : to multiply sexually or asexually
3 : to travel through space or a material used of wave energy (such as light, sound, or radio waves)

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Other Words from propagate

propagative \ ˈprä-​pə-​ˌgā-​tiv How to pronounce propagative (audio) \ adjective
propagator \ ˈprä-​pə-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce propagator (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for propagate

Synonyms

breed, multiply, procreate, reproduce

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Did You Know?

The origins of propagate are firmly rooted in the field of horticulture. The word was borrowed into English in the late 16th century from Latin propagatus, the past participle of the verb propagare, which means "to set (onto a plant) a small shoot or twig cut for planting or grafting." Propagare, in turn, derives from propages, meaning "layer (of a plant), slip, offspring." It makes sense, therefore, that the earliest uses of propagate referred to facilitating the reproduction of a plant or animal. Nowadays, however, the meaning of propagate can extend to the "reproduction" of something intangible, such as an idea or belief. Incidentally, propaganda also comes to us from propagare, although it took a somewhat different route into English.

Examples of propagate in a Sentence

We are discovering new ways to propagate plants without seeds. He propagated the apple tree by grafting. The plants failed to propagate.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Leaves with no chlorophyll at all, though, are unable to photosynthesize, so there is no point in trying to propagate it. oregonlive.com, "Ask an expert: Make sure you have enough room to work around grape vines," 24 Aug. 2019 Grafting is also used to propagate trees commercially by using vigorous, reliable rootstocks. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Prune suckers from trees close to the ground," 15 July 2019 Wind makes the reaction worse while helping the plants to propagate their seeds more widely. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Climate change is also terrible for your ragweed allergy," 2 Sep. 2019 The military had seeded Facebook with anti-Rohingya propaganda, taking cues from the ultrafanatic monks who had propagated anti-Muslim sentiment. New York Times, "The Schoolteacher and the Genocide," 8 Aug. 2019 The Ponderosa Pine relies on fire as part of its life cycle in order to propagate, and the forest naturally sees wildfires every 40 to 70 years. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Crews 'cautiously optimistic' as Museum Fire continues to burn," 25 July 2019 To propagate grapevines, farmers often use cuttings from a preferred plant to grow new, genetically identical vines. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian, "Ancient Grape DNA Tells the Prolific History of Wine," 10 June 2019 But these are insidious threats being propagated on these web platforms. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "One Woman Got Facebook to Police Opioid Sales On Instagram," 6 Apr. 2018 When the moist forest canopy becomes so dry, and the savannah spreads, that fires propagate and expand in a vicious circle? Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "The Amazon is burning. The climate is changing. And we're doing nothing to stop it," 4 Sep. 2019

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

1535, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for propagate

Latin propagatus, past participle of propagare to set slips, propagate, from propages slip, offspring, from pro- before + pangere to fasten — more at pro-, pact

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Statistics for propagate

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for propagate

The first known use of propagate was in 1535

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More Definitions for propagate

propagate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of propagate

formal : to make (something, such as an idea or belief) known to many people
technical : to produce (a new plant)

propagate

verb
prop·​a·​gate | \ ˈprä-pə-ˌgāt How to pronounce propagate (audio) \
propagated; propagating

Kids Definition of propagate

1 : to have or cause to have offspring : multiply You can propagate apple trees from seed.
2 : to cause (as an idea or belief) to spread out and affect a greater number or wider area The preacher traveled to propagate his faith.

propagate

verb
prop·​a·​gate | \ ˈpräp-ə-ˌgāt How to pronounce propagate (audio) \
propagated; propagating

Medical Definition of propagate

transitive verb

1 : to cause to continue or increase by sexual or asexual reproduction
2 : to cause to spread or to be transmitted

intransitive verb

: to multiply sexually or asexually

Other Words from propagate

propagable \ ˈpräp-​ə-​gə-​bəl How to pronounce propagable (audio) \ adjective
propagative \ -​ˌgāt-​iv How to pronounce propagative (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on propagate

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