[ kuhl-tuh-vey-shuhn ]
/ ˌkʌl təˈveɪ ʃən /
Save This Word!


the act or art of cultivating.
the state of being cultivated.
culture; refinement.



Loosen up your grammar muscles because it’s time to test your knowledge on verb tenses!
Question 1 of 6
The verb tenses can be split into which 3 primary categories?

Meet Grammar Coach

Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing

Meet Grammar Coach

Improve Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of cultivation

First recorded in 1690–1700; cultivate + -ion

OTHER WORDS FROM cultivation

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does cultivation mean?

Cultivation is the act of growing something or improving its growth, especially crops.

Cultivation can also be used in a more figurative way to refer to the same kind of process, except that the thing being grown or improved is often an abstract thing, such as a business or a friendship.

Cultivation is a noun form of the verb cultivate.

The literal sense of cultivation is most often used in the context of agriculture, but it can also refer to things being grown in a laboratory. Its figurative sense can apply to the development of many different things, such as relationships, skills, and even cultures.

Example: The rich soil in this region is ideal for the cultivation of a variety of crops.

Where does cultivation come from?

The word cultivation ultimately grew out of the Medieval Latin word cultīvātus, which derives from the Latin verb colere, meaning “to till,” “to toil over,” “to care for,” or “to worship.” Colere is also the basis of the words cult, culture, and agriculture, among many others.

Cultivation isn’t just planting something and letting it grow. It involves preparing for its growth and tending to it as it grows. Cultivation of crops often first involves tilling (or plowing) the land. (A machine that does this is called a cultivator). It also involves planting seeds and then watering them and making sure they are growing properly. When crops and plants are cultivated, they are taken care of until they are ready to be harvested. Cultivation of organisms in a lab involves growing (or culturing) them in a controlled environment.

You can see why this process is used as a metaphor for growing something like a friendship. Cultivation of a friendship involves first gaining someone’s trust, and then continuing to build the relationship until it blossoms, so to speak. Cultivation of a business or someone’s talent involves developing it for success. Other things can be grown through cultivation, such as skills, interests, or even cultures. In every case, care must be taken so that such things can take root and continue to thrive.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to cultivation?

What are some words that share a root or word element with cultivation


What are some words that often get used in discussing cultivation?

How is cultivation used in real life?

Cultivation is most commonly used in a literal sense in the context of agriculture to refer to growing crops. But it is also used in many different figurative ways.



Try using cultivation!

Which of the following things can be grown through cultivation?

A. crops
B. skills
C. culture
D. all of the above

How to use cultivation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cultivation

/ (ˌkʌltɪˈveɪʃən) /


  1. the planting, tending, improving, or harvesting of crops or plants
  2. the preparation of ground to promote their growth
development, esp through education, training, etc
culture or sophistication, esp social refinement
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

Medical definitions for cultivation

[ kŭl′tə-vāshən ]


The process of promoting the growth of a biological culture.

Other words from cultivation

culti•vate′ v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.