"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[kuhl] /kʌl/
verb (used with object)
to choose; select; pick.
to gather the choice things or parts from.
to collect; gather; pluck.
act of culling.
something culled, especially something picked out and put aside as inferior.
Origin of cull
1300-50; Middle English coilen, cuilen, cullen < Anglo-French, Old French cuillir < Latin colligere to gather; see collect1
Related forms
culler, noun
outcull, verb (used with object)
overcull, verb (used with object)
unculled, adjective
Can be confused
call, caul, cull (see synonym study at call)
2. glean, extract. 3. garner, winnow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for culling
  • Computer teams pick their winners by culling data from past performances.
  • If anything, global culling or birth control are rather shortsighted solutions themselves.
  • Better management of cattle and earlier culling of rabbits, which are more controlled today, could have saved the wren.
  • The center's announcement said wolves benefit prey populations by culling sick animals and preventing overpopulation.
  • culling, or releasing a fish from a line or reservoir upon the catch of a larger fish, is prohibited.
  • culling and, yes, killing a portion of a herd seems a natural way of helping a group of animals and their habitat to thrive.
  • culling five books out of such a long, worthy list is never easy.
  • Gone, too, is its predecessor's thousand-year-old ninja cult charged with culling decadent metropolises via outlandish plots.
  • Every year a culling team inside the park kills elephants.
  • The call for culling of wolves on the island is thus growing.
British Dictionary definitions for culling


verb (transitive)
to choose or gather the best or required examples
to take out (an animal, esp an inferior one) from a herd
to reduce the size of (a herd or flock) by killing a proportion of its members
to gather (flowers, fruit, etc)
to cease to employ; get rid of
the act or product of culling
an inferior animal taken from a herd or group
Word Origin
C15: from Old French coillir to pick, from Latin colligere; see collect1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for culling



c.1200, originally "put through a strainer," from Old French coillir (12c., Modern French cueillir) "collect, gather, pluck, select," from Latin colligere "gather together, collect," originally "choose, select" (see collect). Related: Culled; culling. As a noun, from 1610s.


"dupe, saphead," rogues' slang from late 16c., perhaps a shortening of cullion "base fellow," originally "testicle" (from French couillon, from Old French coillon "testicle; worthless fellow, dolt," from Latin coleus, literally "strainer bag;" see cojones), though another theory traces it to Romany (Gypsy) chulai "man." Also sometimes cully, though some authorities assert cully was the canting term for "dupe" and cull was generic "man, fellow," without implication of gullibility. Cf. also gullible.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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