Definition of populate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈpɒpjʊleɪt/


[with object]
1Form the population of (a place): the island is populated by scarcely 40,000 people a cosy rural town populated with friendly folk
More example sentences
  • The city is densely populated with the second highest number of people per hectare in the whole of the south-east.
  • The crash site is densely populated with lots of small homes.
  • Pretty soon the place was populated with everybody from gypsies to prime ministers to people with turbans running around - it was indeed an Orson party.
inhabit, live/reside in, occupy, people
formal dwell in
1.1Cause people to settle in (a place).
Example sentences
  • The earthern barriers to the surrounding arms of the Fraser have existed in some form since the settlers first started populating the area in the mid to late 1800s.
  • Much of the world was not populated, settlements of people existed here and there.
  • In Monterey Bay, California, scientists documented a complete turnover of the marine population with cold water fish moving northward and warm water fish and sea animals moving in to populate that area.
settle (in), colonize, people, move into, occupy, take up residence in, make one's home in, open up, pioneer, overrun
1.2Fill or be present in (a place or sphere): the film is an epic fantasy populated by grotesque weirdos
More example sentences
  • Certainly grotesque characters populate the world, as in all of the Coens' films, but a lot of the film ultimately centers on Ed's obsession with cleanliness.
  • Given that Haslam has played and improvised enough characters to populate a small city, is there some quality that unites the less ephemeral ones?
  • Here's a brief guide to the freaks and grotesques that populate the Peepshow world.
1.3 Computing Fill in (data).
Example sentences
  • In such a case it makes more sense to use a conventional ETL (extract, transform and load) tool to populate the data warehouse rather than attempt to federate it with transactional sources.
  • I quickly corrected the error and re-ran the Perl script that generates the HTML pages and populates the database for the search engine.
  • In any event, when I tried to skirt the browser interface and populate the cluster database manually with the provided script, I was greeted with what I consider the death knell of this project.


Late 16th century: from medieval Latin populat- 'supplied with people', from the verb populare, from populus 'people'.

Words that rhyme with populate


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: popu|late

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.