propagate

verb
prop·​a·​gate | \ˈprä-pə-ˌgāt \
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 \ adjective
propagator \ ˈprä-​pə-​ˌgā-​tər \ noun

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

The mission’s primary goal is to establish communications among the minute satellites through an approach called mesh networking, which involves passing messages to nearby satellites so that information eventually propagates to all the Sprites. Steve Nadis, Discover Magazine, "The Tiny Satellites That Might Fly to Another Solar System," 18 Oct. 2018 Damage to the carbon fiber liner then propagated and caused it to burst, starting a chain reaction that annihilated the rocket and its payload. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "SpaceX and NASA Reach Agreement on Astronaut Safety," 20 Aug. 2018 In other words, one fault propagates through the system. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Why Can't We Fix Puerto Rico's Power Grid?," 18 Apr. 2018 Divide and Conquer Instead of buying more of a certain plant to fill in a space, multiply your plants by propagating them from stems, roots, and leaves, and by dividing perennials. Kier Holmes, Sunset, "10 Ways to Be a Frugal Gardener," 22 Jan. 2018 But these are insidious threats being propagated on these Web platforms. Washington Post, "The Health 202: Trump's tariffs could defeat his goal of lowering drug prices," 5 Apr. 2018 Privilege talk forms an integral part of the worldview that contemporary colleges propagate, and that students often fiercely advance and defend on their campuses—and the more elite the college, the more aggressive the defense. WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: The Paradox of ‘Privilege’," 28 Mar. 2018 But in a year when some of its most popular products have been used to propagate misinformation, spread conspiracy theories and meddle with elections, Google struck a more measured tone on Tuesday. New York Times, "Google Strikes Humble Tone While Promoting A.I. Technology," 8 May 2018 Last year, The New York Times wrote about climate-denier groups that have purchased Google's AdWords to surface sites propagating claims that global warming is a hoax. Renee Diresta, WIRED, "The Complexity of Simply Searching for Medical Advice," 3 July 2018

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

21 Nov 2018

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

: to make (something, such as an idea or belief) known to many people

: to produce (a new plant)

propagate

verb
prop·​a·​gate | \ˈprä-pə-ˌgāt \
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 \
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 \ adjective
propagative \ -​ˌgāt-​iv \ adjective

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