[ kuhl-cher ]
/ ˈkʌl tʃər /
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See synonyms for: culture / cultured / cultures on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), cul·tured, cul·tur·ing.
to subject to culture; cultivate.
  1. to grow (microorganisms, tissues, etc.) in or on a controlled or defined medium.
  2. to introduce (living material) into a culture medium.


What Does "Culture Shock" Mean?

What does the phrase "culture shock" mean ... and how can a culture be shocking?

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Origin of culture

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English: “tilling, place tilled,” from Anglo-French, Middle French, from Latin cultūra “cultivation, agriculture, tillage, care.” See cult, -ure

synonym study for culture

4. See education.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does culture mean?

Culture is a collection of behaviors and beliefs associated with a particular group, as in Ming adores Mexican culture, especially Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

Culture is also the quality of a person or group of people that comes from appreciating excellence in the arts, fashion, manners, and other characteristics of a society, as in A person of culture, Damon frequently attends the symphony and theater.

To culture someone is to expose them to culture, particularly to one that is not their own.

In biology and agriculture, a culture is a specific, enclosed group of organisms, such as a cell culture or a group of plants or animals that are separated from the rest.

Related to this sense, to culture means to grow such a group of organisms.

Example: The culture at my office is one of respect and interest in each others’ projects.

Where does culture come from?

The first records of the term culture come from the early 1400s. It ultimately comes from the Latin cultūra, meaning “cultivation, agriculture, tillage, care.”

Because culture often directly connects to a certain type of art or experience, it will often be paired with a word that describes it, such as Greek culture or punk culture. Culture is often a way that ethnicities, religions, races, and a variety of social and personal factors are lumped together to describe someone’s background.

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How is culture used in real life?

Culture is a common word that most often refers to behaviors and beliefs associated with a particular group.



Try using culture!

Is culture used correctly in the following sentence?

Scientists who study cell cultures spend a lot of time using powerful microscopes.

How to use culture in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for culture

/ (ˈkʌltʃə) /

verb (tr)
to cultivate (plants or animals)
to grow (microorganisms) in a culture medium

Derived forms of culture

culturist, nouncultureless, adjective

Word Origin for culture

C15: from Old French, from Latin cultūra a cultivating, from colere to till; see cult
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

Scientific definitions for culture

[ kŭlchər ]

A growth of microorganisms, viruses, or tissue cells in a specially prepared nutrient medium under supervised conditions.
The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. Culture is learned and shared within social groups and is transmitted by nongenetic means.
To grow microorganisms, viruses, or tissue cells in a nutrient medium.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for culture


The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another. Culture is transmitted, through language, material objects, ritual, institutions, and art, from one generation to the next.

notes for culture

Anthropologists consider that the requirements for culture (language use, tool making, and conscious regulation of sex) are essential features that distinguish humans from other animals.

notes for culture

Culture also refers to refined music, art, and literature; one who is well versed in these subjects is considered “cultured.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.