Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[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
First recorded in 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.
First recorded in 1590-1600; in-1 + breed Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for inbreeding
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • inbreeding, caponizing, etc., What to do at different seasons.

    Apple Growing M. C. Burritt
  • inbreeding maintains the excellence of a breed at the expense of its vigor.


    William Graham Sumner
  • It is very probable, but not absolutely certain, that inbreeding is harmful.


    William Graham Sumner
  • The notion of harm in inbreeding has spread all over the earth.


    William Graham Sumner
  • inbreeding intensifies and fixes the qualities, be they good or bad.

    Hints on Dairying T. D. Curtis
  • In inbreeding the great difficulty of the breeder is to know when to stop.

  • It presupposes no assortative mating, no inbreeding and no selection.

    Applied Eugenics Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for inbreeding

c.1842, from in + breeding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for inbreeding

Difficulty index for inbreeding

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for inbreeding

Scrabble Words With Friends