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See more synonyms for inbreeding on Thesaurus.com
noun Biology.
  1. the mating of closely related individuals, as cousins, sire-daughter, brother-sister, or self-fertilized plants, which tends to increase the number of individuals that are homozygous for a trait and therefore increases the appearance of recessive traits.
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Origin of inbreeding

First recorded in 1835–45; inbreed + -ing1


[in-breed, in-breed]
verb (used with object), in·bred, in·breed·ing.
  1. to breed (individuals of a closely related group) repeatedly.
  2. to breed within; engender.
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verb (used without object), in·bred, in·breed·ing.
  1. to engage in or undergo inbreeding.
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Origin of inbreed

First recorded in 1590–1600; in-1 + breed
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for inbreeding

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Inbreeding, caponizing, etc., What to do at different seasons.

    Apple Growing

    M. C. Burritt

  • It is very probable, but not absolutely certain, that inbreeding is harmful.


    William Graham Sumner

  • The notion of harm in inbreeding has spread all over the earth.


    William Graham Sumner

  • Inbreeding maintains the excellence of a breed at the expense of its vigor.


    William Graham Sumner

  • Inbreeding intensifies and fixes the qualities, be they good or bad.

    Hints on Dairying

    T. D. Curtis

British Dictionary definitions for inbreeding


verb -breeds, -breeding or -bred
  1. to breed from unions between closely related individuals, esp over several generations
  2. (tr) to develop within; engender
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Derived Formsinbreeding, noun, 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

Word Origin and History for inbreeding


c.1842, from in + breeding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

inbreeding in Medicine


  1. homogamy
  2. The continued breeding of closely related individuals so as to preserve desirable traits in a stock.

inbreeding in Science