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

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 Next up for Veazey: Completing her drainage project and learning to propagate flowers. Karen Taylor, NOLA.com, "New Orleanians' thumbs get greener during coronavirus shutdown. We talk to 3 new gardeners," 6 Aug. 2020 Small and local interactions propagate with startling speed through the group, gumming up the works or making the whole collective move more smoothly. Adam Rogers, Wired, "What the Science of Animal Networks Reveals About Protests," 31 July 2020 The resulting images from events like these were used to further propagate covert online Russian campaigns. Richa Naik And Nick Scott, CNN, "Dirty tricks and the 2020 election: lessons from the KGB," 30 July 2020 Charlie Kaufman likened modern man to carpenter ants that have had their brains infected by a species of fungus and are compelled by mind control to sacrifice themselves to help the fungus propagate. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Screwballs in Hollywood," 10 July 2020 Rather than propagate a myth, try highlighting differences in a positive way. oregonlive, "How to talk to kids about race and racism," 26 June 2020 The firm soon realized that the code wasn't written by the device's manufacturer, but rather came from Treck—and that meant the bugs weren't in a single device, but everywhere, underscoring how widely IoT flaws can propagate. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "A Legion of Bugs Puts Hundreds of Millions of IoT Devices at Risk," 16 June 2020 Becoming seasonal Though there is no definitive answer as to why some viruses have a seasonal circulation pattern and others don’t, several factors help many viral threats propagate in the winter months specifically. Jill Langlois, National Geographic, "Worries mount that southern winter may tighten COVID-19’s grip," 17 Apr. 2020 If propagating plants already in your yard, such as birds of paradise, use a small handsaw or sharp knife to cut at the base of the plant. Jasmin Perez, Sunset Magazine, "3 Easy Way to Freshen Up Your Yard, Without Spending Money," 5 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for propagate

Time Traveler

The first known use of propagate was in 1535

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Statistics for propagate

Last Updated

10 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Propagate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propagate. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for propagate

propagate

verb
How to pronounce propagate (audio)

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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