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

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

My hunch was that Alana was in the middle of a vestibular migraine, a variant where the brain’s electrical waves propagate through the cerebellum, the brain’s balance center. Tony Dajer, Discover Magazine, "Vertigo, Panic and Trouble Breathing: What's Going On Here?," 19 Oct. 2018 What one is seeing is literally a ripple propagating through the atmosphere. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "Wicked cool wave clouds crash over Boston area," 6 Apr. 2018 The algorithm is called backpropagation because error gradients from later layers in a network are propagated backwards and used (along with the chain rule from calculus) to calculate gradients in earlier layers. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How computers got shockingly good at recognizing images," 18 Dec. 2018 This helps the individual survive to sire more offspring, thus propagating the genes that code for fitness. Matt Simon, WIRED, "The Shape-Shifting Robot That Evolves by Falling Down," 18 May 2018 Here's how to grow and propagate your Christmas cactus. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Christmas Cactus Care: Everything You Need to Know About the Holiday Plant," 1 Aug. 2018 As the embryo develops, any change that was made will be propagated through every cell in the body, including sperm and eggs that are passed on to the next generation. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Legal vs. Illegal Gene Editing: Here's What's Banned, and Why," 4 Dec. 2018 Randazza is also defending far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones against several families of the victims in the Sandy Hook, Connecticut, shooting, who are suing him for defamation for propagating the idea that the massacre was a hoax. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "The Satanic Temple is divided over its leader’s decision to hire Alex Jones’s lawyer," 9 Aug. 2018 The conference, at the Menger Hotel June 7-10, is being hosted by the Archdiocese of San Antonio and its Black Catholic Apostolate, a group dedicated to evangelizing, or propagating Catholicism, to African Americans. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Black Catholics conference meeting in S.A. this weekend," 8 June 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

14 Feb 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 \
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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