Basic+ Word of the Day: breed

breed (verb, noun) past tense: bred LISTEN

Breed means ‘to reproduce’ living things.

  • Mosquitos breed in standing water.
  • The ranch breeds cattle.
  • The farmer bred the tomatoes to be sweet.

Breed also means ‘to cause’ or ‘to be the source of.’

  • Dirty hands breed germs.
  • Warm, wet places breed bacteria.

A breed is a certain type of animal within a species, developed and maintained by humans.

  • That breed of dog is good with children.

Common uses

familiarity breeds contempt: knowing someone very well may cause losing respect for them. Example: “Just because I am your friend, don’t assume that I will lie for you. Familiarity breeds contempt.”

Did you know?

Although breeding often refers to animals, it applies to humans as well. When applied to people, usually of the upper classes, it refers to the way you were raised and the status of your family. If you are well bred, you are polite and do what is expected of a member of your class.

Related words

inbreeding: the sexual reproduction of closely related individuals. Example: “The royal family suffered from certain diseases due to inbreeding.”

In pop culture

A thoroughbred is an animal, usually a horse, with parents of the same breed. Every May, the very fastest three-year-old thoroughbreds compete in a horse race called the Kentucky Derby. Watch the race here.

There are other meanings of breed.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Word of the Day is released Monday through Friday.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like