Definition of culture in English:


Line breaks: cul|ture
Pronunciation: /ˈkʌltʃə


[mass noun]
  • 2The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society: Afro-Caribbean culture [count noun]: people from many different cultures
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    • Our customs, culture, and societal structure demands the presence of the father.
    • This primarily involves questions about a society's culture, social life, and public sphere.
    • If we don't attend to our moral traditions - to our culture - then our society could come apart at the seams.
  • 2.1 [with modifier] The attitudes and behaviour characteristic of a particular social group: the emerging drug culture
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    • Television was the perfect mainline to pump the West's veins full of the consumer culture drug.
    • Based on the movie of the same title, the show is about drug dealers, users, and the position of cash at the center of drug culture lifestyles.
    • Western consumer culture has fostered an attitude of ‘I want it and I want it now’.
  • 3 Biology The cultivation of bacteria, tissue cells, etc. in an artificial medium containing nutrients: the cells proliferate readily in culture
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    • Imagine the ability to grow human cells in culture to grow muscle tissue.
    • A feature shared by senescent cells in culture and in vivo is shortening of the telomeres.
    • Circadian rhythms are known to be exhibited by all peripheral tissues and mammalian cells in culture.
  • 3.1 [count noun] A preparation of cells obtained by culture: the bacterium was isolated in two blood cultures
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    • The vaccine continued to be used for many years, until replaced by a vaccine prepared in cell cultures.
    • We presume this reduction reflects dead cells in the mutant cultures, as noted above.
    • Slides from the same blood cultures were later prepared for automated analysis.


[with object] Biology Back to top  
  • Maintain (tissue cells, bacteria, etc.) in conditions suitable for growth: several investigators have attempted to culture biliary cells
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    • Bovine aortic endothelial cells were cultured in complete growth medium as described previously.
    • The dissociated epithelial cells were cultured in a serum-free hormone supplement medium according to a technique described previously.
    • The bone explants were then cultured in the presence or absence of the agents to be tested for 2 days.


Middle English (denoting a cultivated piece of land): the noun from French culture or directly from Latin cultura 'growing, cultivation'; the verb from obsolete French culturer or medieval Latin culturare, both based on Latin colere 'tend, cultivate' (see cultivate). In late Middle English the sense was 'cultivation of the soil' and from this (early 16th century), arose 'cultivation (of the mind, faculties, or manners'); sense 1 of the noun dates from the early 19th century.

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