verb (used with object), bred, breed·ing.
- to cause to reproduce by controlled pollination.
- to improve by controlled pollination and selection.
verb (used without object), bred, breed·ing.
Origin of breed
Synonyms for breed
verb breeds, breeding or bred
Word Origin for breed
Old English bredan "bring young to birth, carry," also "cherish, keep warm," from West Germanic *brodjan (cf. Old High German bruoten, German brüten "to brood, hatch"), from *brod- "fetus, hatchling," from PIE *bhreue- "burn, heat" (see brood (n.)). Original notion of the word was incubation, warming to hatch. Sense of "grow up, be reared" (in a clan, etc.) is late 14c. Related: Bred; breeding.
"race, lineage, stock" (originally of animals), 1550s, from breed (v.). Of persons, from 1590s. Meaning "kind, species" is from 1580s.
see familiarity breeds contempt.