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[kuhl-tuh-veyt] /ˈkʌl təˌveɪt/
verb (used with object), cultivated, cultivating.
to prepare and work on (land) in order to raise crops; till.
to use a cultivator on.
to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.
to produce by culture:
to cultivate a strain of bacteria.
to develop or improve by education or training; train; refine:
to cultivate a singing voice.
to promote the growth or development of (an art, science, etc.); foster.
to devote oneself to (an art, science, etc.).
to seek to promote or foster (friendship, love, etc.).
to seek the acquaintance or friendship of (a person).
Origin of cultivate
1610-20; < Medieval Latin cultīvātus (past participle of cultīvāre to till), equivalent to cultīv(us) (Latin cult(us), past participle of colere to care for, till (cf. cult) + -īvus -ive) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
overcultivate, verb (used with object), overcultivated, overcultivating.
precultivate, verb (used with object), precultivated, precultivating.
recultivate, verb (used with object), recultivated, recultivating. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cultivate
  • And our pedagogical challenge will be to combine hyper attention with deep attention and to cultivate both.
  • After tenure, it is time to cultivate that gentle art for the sake of things you care about more than interpersonal relations.
  • They have no house to inhabit, no land to cultivate, nor any domestic charge or care.
  • Too busy to nurture his inner angst and cultivate his insanity.
  • Feeling flush, farmers have rushed to buy and cultivate more land.
  • It provided a cheap source of calories and was easy to cultivate, so it liberated workers from the land.
  • They tolerate, cultivate, and accommodate special interests of all kinds-at once using and being used.
  • Sustainable agriculture aims to cultivate the land so it may be used by future generations.
  • Employers who provide for mental health care may cultivate a better balance sheet as well as a happier lunch room.
  • Eventually, a railroad was built through the town, which brought farmers to cultivate the land.
British Dictionary definitions for cultivate


verb (transitive)
to till and prepare (land or soil) for the growth of crops
to plant, tend, harvest, or improve (plants) by labour and skill
to break up (land or soil) with a cultivator or hoe
to improve or foster (the mind, body, etc) as by study, education, or labour
to give special attention to: to cultivate a friendship, to cultivate a hobby
to give or bring culture to (a person, society, etc); civilize
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin cultivāre to till, from Old French cultiver, from Medieval Latin cultīvus cultivable, from Latin cultus cultivated, from colere to till, toil over
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for cultivate

early 17c., from Medieval Latin cultivatus, past participle of cultivare, from Late Latin cultivus "tilled," from Latin cultus (see cult). Figurative sense of "improve by training or education" is from 1680s. Related: Cultivable; cultivated; cultivating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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