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[in-bree-ding] /ˈɪnˌbri dɪŋ/
noun, Biology
the mating of closely related individuals, as cousins, sire-daughter, brother-sister, or self-fertilized plants, which tends to increase the number of individuals that are homozygous for a trait and therefore increases the appearance of recessive traits.
Origin of inbreeding
1835-45; inbreed + -ing1


[in-breed, in-breed] /ˈɪnˌbrid, ɪnˈbrid/
verb (used with object), inbred, inbreeding.
to breed (individuals of a closely related group) repeatedly.
to breed within; engender.
verb (used without object), inbred, inbreeding.
to engage in or undergo inbreeding.
1590-1600; in-1 + breed Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inbreeding
  • There's not enough genetic disparity to ward off the perils of inbreeding.
  • Meanwhile, the wolves have shown a high incidence of a backbone malformation from inbreeding.
  • inbreeding in the spirit of preserving the blood lines of nobility, or whatever, produces mental and physical deformity.
  • The inbreeding coefficient is, simply put, a measure of how inbred individuals are.
  • Close inbreeding can only be sustained by accepting a high childhood mortality rate.
  • The differences could be viewed as stemming from inbreeding.
  • Biologists believe the virus is linked to environmental degradation and genetic inbreeding among oyster stocks.
  • inbreeding reduces resistance to disease, and lowers reproductive success.
  • Generations of inbreeding had left their bodies frail and misshapen.
  • At the same time the population has been isolated and, as a result, weakened by inbreeding.
British Dictionary definitions for inbreeding


verb -breeds, -breeding, -bred
to breed from unions between closely related individuals, esp over several generations
(transitive) to develop within; engender
Derived Forms
inbreeding, noun, adjective
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 inbreeding

c.1842, from in + breeding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inbreeding in Medicine

inbreeding in·breed·ing (ĭn'brē'dĭng)

  1. See homogamy.

  2. The continued breeding of closely related individuals so as to preserve desirable traits in a stock.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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inbreeding in Science
The breeding or mating of related individuals within an isolated or closed group of organisms or people. Inbreeding can result in inbreeding depression. However, in agriculture and animal husbandry, the continued breeding of closely related individuals can help to preserve desirable traits in a stock.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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