pul·​lu·​late | \ ˈpəl-yə-ˌlāt \
pullulated; pullulating

Definition of pullulate

intransitive verb

b : to breed or produce freely the country's pullulating population
2 : swarm, teem the island pullulated with tourists

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Other Words from pullulate

pullulation \ ˌpəl-​yə-​ˈlā-​shən \ noun

Did You Know?

To remember the history of "pullulate," think chickens. This may sound like odd advice, but it makes sense if you know that "pullulate" traces ultimately to the Latin noun pullus, which means not only "sprout," but also "young of an animal" and, specifically, "chick." "Pullus" is also an ancestor of "pullet" ("young hen"), "poult" (meaning "young fowl" and especially "young turkey"), and even "poultry" ("domesticated fowl"). At first "pullulate" referred to sprouting, budding, and breeding around the farm; only later did it gain its "swarm" sense.

Examples of pullulate in a Sentence

a tough city neighborhood that has a reputation for pullulating with prostitutes and petty criminals

First Known Use of pullulate

1619, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pullulate

Latin pullulatus, past participle of pullulare, from pullulus, diminutive of pullus chicken, sprout — more at foal

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The first known use of pullulate was in 1619

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More Definitions for pullulate


intransitive verb
pul·​lu·​late | \ ˈpəl-yə-ˌlāt \
pullulated; pullulating

Medical Definition of pullulate

1 : to bud or sprout
2 : to breed or produce freely

Other Words from pullulate

pullulation \ ˌpəl-​yə-​ˈlā-​shən \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on pullulate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pullulate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pullulate

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What made you want to look up pullulate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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