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

The Scotsman reports that the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh already has a yew hedge propagated from cuttings from the Fortingall Yew. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "U.K.’s Oldest Tree Is Being Besieged by Tourists," 21 June 2019 Because the azaleas seem always to bloom right on time, skeptics have propagated the myth that the club’s horticulturists freeze the blossoms, in advance of the tournament, or swap out early bloomers for more coöperative specimens. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National," 14 June 2019 On offense, Danny Amendola will propagate more of the quick throws and stack-and switch-releases that Patricia wants. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "NFC North Offseason Reports: How Will the Aaron Rodgers-Matt LaFleur Marriage Work?," 12 June 2019 While scientists had tried to use cross-pollination, grafting, and tip cuttings to propagate the plant, none of their attempts were successful. Kristen Pope, National Geographic, "Extinct flower rediscovered in Hawaii, via drones," 18 Apr. 2019 The entire closure process is controlled by a small collection of panels where the two arms of the pincer meet; changes there simply propagate down the arms. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Earwig’s wing inspires compact designs that fold themselves," 23 Mar. 2018 Historians believe that Christianity was known to China as early as the seventh century, and was later propagated by Jesuit missionaries starting in the 1500s. Yanan Wang, Fox News, "Christian heartland opens window into fight for China's soul," 7 Aug. 2018 Fox News, of which Trump is an avid viewer and which often propagates his message, followed suit. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Fox News wants you to be very afraid of what’s happening at the border," 26 Nov. 2018 Their goal is to get the news media to negate that frame — and negate the conspirators who are propagating that frame. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How a new class of “digital martyrs” are manipulating social networks," 18 Sep. 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

4 Jul 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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