[ pop-yuh-leyt ]
/ ˈpɒp yəˌleɪt /

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

to inhabit; live in; be the inhabitants of.
to furnish with inhabitants, as by colonization; people.

Origin of populate

1570–80; < Medieval Latin populātus, past participle of populāre to inhabit. See people, -ate1
Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for populate


/ (ˈpɒpjʊˌleɪt) /

verb (tr)

(often passive) to live in; inhabit
to provide a population for; colonize or people

Word Origin for populate

C16: from Medieval Latin populāre to provide with inhabitants, from Latin populus people
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 populate



1610s, from Medieval Latin populatus, past participle of populare "inhabit, to people," from Latin populus "inhabitants, people, nation" (see people (n.)). Related: Populated; populating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper