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[pop-yuh-leyt] /ˈpɒp yəˌleɪt/
verb (used with object), populated, populating.
to inhabit; live in; be the inhabitants of.
to furnish with inhabitants, as by colonization; people.
Origin of populate
1570-80; < Medieval Latin populātus, past participle of populāre to inhabit. See people, -ate1
Related forms
outpopulate, verb (used with object), outpopulated, outpopulating.
repopulate, verb (used with object), repopulated, repopulating.
superpopulated, adjective
underpopulate, verb (used with object), underpopulated, underpopulating.
unpopulated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for populate
  • And the insurers who populate that market have grown all the stronger.
  • It may sound gimmicky and over the top, but the secret to its success is the realistic characters that populate it.
  • Compact plants surrounded by clusters of small firms that service them will likely populate tomorrow's manufacturing landscape.
  • There has to be a better, faster way to re-populate the federal courts.
  • It is the religious leaders who demanded their flock out populate the others.
  • As the environment plants and animals live in continues to change, so will it dictate who will continue to populate it.
  • Enough with every picking of one's nose to populate a school.
  • We would populate the borehole with samplers and experiments that remained from this expedition.
  • Shown here are the gustatory nerves that populate the tongue.
  • Tattooed former soldiers populate the breakfast rooms of reopened business hotels.
British Dictionary definitions for populate


verb (transitive)
(often passive) to live in; inhabit
to provide a population for; colonize or people
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin populāre to provide with inhabitants, from Latin populus people
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 populate

1610s, from Medieval Latin populatus, past participle of populare "inhabit, to people," from Latin populus "inhabitants, people, nation" (see people (n.)). Related: Populated; populating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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