[ kuhl-cher ]
See synonyms for: cultureculturedcultures on

  1. the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.

  2. that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.

  1. a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.

  2. development or improvement of the mind by education or training.

  3. the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular group of people, as a social, ethnic, professional, or age group (usually used in combination): the youth culture; the drug culture.

  4. the shared beliefs, behaviors, or social environment connected with a particular aspect of society: the rape culture on campus; the culture of poverty; a culture of celebrity worship.

  5. the values, typical practices, and goals of a business or other organization, especially a large corporation: Their corporate culture frowns on avoiding risk.

  6. Anthropology. the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

  7. Biology.

    • the cultivation of microorganisms, as bacteria, or of tissues, for scientific study, medicinal use, etc.

    • the product or growth resulting from such cultivation.

  8. the act or practice of cultivating the soil; tillage.

  9. the raising of plants or animals, especially with a view to their improvement.

  10. the product or growth resulting from such cultivation.

verb (used with object),cul·tured, cul·tur·ing.
  1. to subject to culture; cultivate.

  2. Biology.

    • to grow (microorganisms, tissues, etc.) in or on a controlled or defined medium.

    • to introduce (living material) into a culture medium.

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.

Other words from culture

  • an·ti·cul·ture, noun
  • in·ter·cul·ture, adjective
  • in·ter·cul·ture, noun
  • mul·ti·cul·ture, noun
  • non·cul·ture, noun
  • pre·cul·ture, noun
  • su·per·cul·ture, noun

Words Nearby culture Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use culture in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for culture


/ (ˈkʌltʃə) /

  1. the total of the inherited ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge, which constitute the shared bases of social action

  2. the total range of activities and ideas of a group of people with shared traditions, which are transmitted and reinforced by members of the group: the Mayan culture

  1. a particular civilization at a particular period

  2. the artistic and social pursuits, expression, and tastes valued by a society or class, as in the arts, manners, dress, etc

  3. the enlightenment or refinement resulting from these pursuits

  4. the attitudes, feelings, values, and behaviour that characterize and inform society as a whole or any social group within it: yob culture

  5. the cultivation of plants, esp by scientific methods designed to improve stock or to produce new ones

  6. stockbreeding the rearing and breeding of animals, esp with a view to improving the strain

  7. the act or practice of tilling or cultivating the soil

  8. biology

    • the experimental growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, in a nutrient substance (culture medium), usually under controlled conditions: See also culture medium

    • a group of microorganisms grown in this way

  1. to cultivate (plants or animals)

  2. to grow (microorganisms) in a culture medium

Origin of culture

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

Derived forms of culture

  • culturist, noun
  • cultureless, 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

Scientific definitions for culture


[ kŭlchər ]

  1. A growth of microorganisms, viruses, or tissue cells in a specially prepared nutrient medium under supervised conditions.

  2. 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.

  1. 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.