propagate

verb
prop·​a·​gate | \ ˈprä-pə-ˌgāt How to pronounce propagate (audio) \
propagated; propagating

Essential Meaning of propagate

1 formal : to make (something, such as an idea or belief) known to many people The group propagates [=promotes] its antigovernment doctrine on the Web.
2 technical : to produce (a new plant) We are discovering new ways to propagate plants without seeds. He propagated the apple tree by grafting. The plants failed to propagate.

Full 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)

Other Words from propagate

propagative \ ˈprä-​pə-​ˌgā-​tiv How to pronounce propagate (audio) \ adjective
propagator \ ˈprä-​pə-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce propagate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for propagate

Synonyms

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The origins of propagate are firmly rooted in the field of horticulture. The word was borrowed into English in the 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 reproduction of a plant or animal. Nowadays, however, the meaning of propagate extends 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 No amount of corporate re-branding should let Zuck or anyone else off the hook for the real, tangible harms their product has manifested and continues to propagate without consequence. Allison Morrow, CNN, 28 Oct. 2021 While many of these problems have existed long before Covid-19, the pandemic has certainly not helped alleviate these challenges and instead, continues to propagate an already dire situation. Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 Updates should propagate to users in seconds, minutes or hours—not weekly. Aashima Gupta, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 Another bulb trait is that most propagate asexually, which means without pollination. Jodi Bay, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Sep. 2021 Some cells pass their genes on to the next generation, the germline cells like eggs and sperm, and then there are all the rest, the somatic cells that support the germline in its quest to propagate itself. Quanta Magazine, 22 Sep. 2021 Understanding how plant traits are expressed and combining them with available logs of genetic sequences might allow scientists to propagate more robust plants that are ready to face the challenges of climate change. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Sep. 2021 Unlike every other quantum of matter or radiation, gravitational waves aren't typically thought of as particles that propagate through spacetime, but rather as a form of radiation that is itself a ripple in the fabric of spacetime. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 18 June 2021 Blooms develop in rivers when the water becomes slack and warm and may last until weather and rains cool the water levels to a point where the blooms can no longer propagate. oregonlive, 6 Aug. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near propagate

propagant

propagate

propagating frame

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Last Updated

7 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Propagate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propagate. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for propagate

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 propagate (audio) \ adjective
propagative \ -​ˌgāt-​iv How to pronounce propagate (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on propagate

Nglish: Translation of propagate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of propagate for Arabic Speakers

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