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cultivate Syllabification: cul·ti·vate
Pronunciation: /ˈkəltəˌvāt/

Definition of cultivate in English:


[with object]
1Prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening.
Example sentences
  • Traditionally, producers begin cultivating the land to prepare for planting in the early spring.
  • The abundant rainfall last autumn did not allow them to cultivate the land and sow autumn crops, and they had to substitute with sunflower and maize.
  • He cultivated the land, but a big share of the crop went to the money lender.
till, plow, dig, hoe, farm, work, fertilize, mulch, weed
1.1Break up (soil) in preparation for sowing or planting.
Example sentences
  • No one wants to trample a new plant or compact freshly cultivated soil.
  • Did the earthworm choose to dig everlastingly, to pass countless tons of earth through its body over the centuries to help cultivate the soil for plant life?
  • Sowing of the seeds is not difficult; cultivate your soil, plant the seeds according to the directions on the packets and water.
1.2Raise or grow (plants), especially on a large scale for commercial purposes.
Example sentences
  • With a dependable and affordable water supply, not only did the growing population have domestic water, they were also able to cultivate commercial crops and plant trees.
  • They observed the consequences of deforestation and, in response, developed the practice of planting and cultivating trees for food and for timber.
  • South African protea species are cultivated commercially in Australia, France, Spain, and the United States.
1.3 Biology Grow or maintain (living cells or tissue) in culture.
Example sentences
  • Is it more ethical to cultivate stem cells from embryos created during in vitro fertilization?
  • In burn injuries, for example, derma cells are cultivated from epithelium cells and then grow onto the surface of the wound.
  • Fully-functional muscle cells only developed after the mesenchymal stem cells were cultivated together with skeletal or heart muscle cells.
2Try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill): he cultivated an air of indifference
More example sentences
  • These teachers have the unique opportunity to help students cultivate talents and skills that will enrich the rest of their lives.
  • Most importantly, it means carefully designing a system of selection, training, and promotion that cultivates qualities you desire in your leaders.
  • Clearly, we need to invent new mechanisms and cultivate new resources for developing and asserting our individual moral authority.
2.1Try to win the friendship or favor of (someone): it helps if you go out of your way to cultivate the local people
More example sentences
  • With attendance estimates for 2000 down 500,000 from that first year, officials are now actively cultivating their local audience.
  • Agents countered all such efforts aggressively, hiking through the jungles in search of smuggling trails and cultivating local residents as informers.
  • While the US has been preoccupied with combating terrorism and spreading democracy in the Middle East, China has been busy cultivating new friends and allies across the Asia Pacific region.
win someone's friendship, woo, court, curry favor with, ingratiate oneself with
informal get in good with someone, butter up, suck up to
2.2Apply oneself to improving or developing (one’s mind or manners).
Example sentences
  • I'm worried that seeing a play at the moment will disturb my carefully cultivated balance of mind.
improve, better, refine, elevate;
educate, train, develop, enrich


Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin cultivat- 'prepared for crops', from the verb cultivare, from cultiva (terra) 'arable (land)', from colere 'cultivate, inhabit'.



Pronunciation: /ˈkəltəvəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • To make this land cultivable, the productive approach is through watershed development.
  • The inter-annual variation in rainfall and its monthly fluctuation during the season pose uncertainty concerning the success of winter crops, so that only half of the cultivable area is cultivated annually.
  • The French then held it for a century but after Napoleon's defeat it became a British colony and it was the British who introduced the sugar cane which still covers 90 per cent of the cultivable land.


Pronunciation: /-ˌvātəbəl/
Example sentences
  • African countries have much cultivatable land and considerable water resources.
  • Despite the stark imagery from the famines of the 1980s, it is well endowed with large areas of cultivatable land as well as mountain ranges, swamps and rain forests.
  • China's per capita water resources are one-fourth of the amount of the world average, and its per capita area of cultivatable farmland is 40 percent of the world average.

Words that rhyme with cultivate

motivate • ovate • excavate

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