[verb dee-pop-yuh-leyt; adjective dee-pop-yuh-lit, -leyt]

verb (used with object), de·pop·u·lat·ed, de·pop·u·lat·ing.

to remove or reduce the population of, as by destruction or expulsion.


Archaic. depopulated.

Origin of depopulate

1525–35; < Latin dēpopulātus devastated (past participle of dēpopulārī), equivalent to dē- de- + populātus; see populate
Related formsde·pop·u·la·tion, nounde·pop·u·la·tive, adjectivede·pop·u·la·tor, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for depopulate

Contemporary Examples of depopulate

Historical Examples of depopulate

  • "To get rid of them you'd have to depopulate the country," said Jason Jones.

  • While out riding he discovered the colony and at once resolved to depopulate it.

    In Beaver World

    Enos Abijah Mills

  • Poverty, death, and emigration then began to depopulate Paris.

    Economic Sophisms

    Frederic Bastiat

  • Leopold seems to be doing his best to depopulate the country.


    Herbert Strang

  • It has converted the valley into a desert, and will depopulate it.


    Robert Montgomery Bird

British Dictionary definitions for depopulate



to be or cause to be reduced in population
Derived Formsdepopulation, noun
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

Word Origin and History for depopulate

1540s; see de- + populate. Perhaps from Latin depopulatus, past participle of depopulari "to lay waste, ravage." Related: Depopulated; depopulating. Earlier in same sense was dispeplen (early 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper