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 The best-case scenario for nursery owners, Dupont said, is to propagate your own, which requires time and space. Jennifer Bolton, Houston Chronicle, "Houston's rare plant business is blooming because of the pandemic," 13 Oct. 2020 But the Fed’s recent actions help propagate the misconception. Alexander William Salter, National Review, "Fiscal Stimulus Is Ineffective. The Fed Requesting It Is Even Worse.," 12 Oct. 2020 In fact, the sound waves can propagate halfway across the globe. Taylor L. Machette, Scientific American, "When Whales Stop Calling," 4 Oct. 2020 Plant patent protection lasts for 25 years, after which time anyone can propagate and sell the plant under its cultivar name. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Don't get in the way of a plant enthusiast and a 'knock out' trademark in their hip pocket," 2 Oct. 2020 Bringing fresh water into the system keeps a small dose of chlorine in the system, which limits the bacteria’s ability to propagate. Max Horberry, New York Times, "Reopened Schools Find Health Risks in Water After Covid-19 Lockdowns," 28 Aug. 2020 According to MoB’s models, a 1% risk level per person would not propagate the pandemic, and if every single person on Earth could adhere to the same risk level, the pandemic would be over in 50 days. Annie Vainshtein, SFChronicle.com, "How does an SF house with 11 roommates navigate the coronavirus? It’s complicated," 18 Sep. 2020 Bringing fresh water into the system keeps a small dose of chlorine in the system, which limits the bacteria’s ability to propagate. Max Horberry, New York Times, "Reopened Schools Find Health Risks in Water After Covid-19 Lockdowns," 28 Aug. 2020 Occasionally growers will propagate them by seeds and will not get the highly improved Gold Star esperanza plants. Neil Sperry, ExpressNews.com, "Neil Sperry: American beautyberry is a jewel among native Texas shrubs," 10 Sep. 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

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Propagate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propagate. Accessed 26 Oct. 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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Comments on propagate

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