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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for repopulate
Historical Examples
  • She looks as though she was made to repopulate a desert unaided.

    The Dangerous Age Karin Michalis
  • They have been known to repopulate their territories after an epidemic, or at least after the destruction of their Aphides.

    The Industries of Animals Frdric Houssay
  • By Sunday he had 1400 men with whom to quiet the panic and restore peace and repopulate the deserted country.

    The Last American Frontier

    Frederic L. (Frederic Logan) Paxson
  • At Pemaquid Point he laid out the plan of a city which he divided into lots, inviting settlers to repopulate the country.

  • Set me upon a coral atoll with that volume, I will repopulate the world with dictionaries, and beget lusty tomes.


    Christopher Morley
  • They were the survivors, each of a score of their fellows not so cautious, themselves fit to repopulate the hillside.

  • They obeyed the oracle and threw stones behind them from which sprang men and women to repopulate the earth.

British Dictionary definitions for repopulate


verb (transitive)
to provide a new population for (an area in which the population has declined)


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 repopulate

1590s, from re- + populate (v.). Related: Repopulated; repopulating.



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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