• synonyms


See more synonyms for propagate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), prop·a·gat·ed, prop·a·gat·ing.
  1. to cause (an organism) to multiply by any process of natural reproduction from the parent stock.
  2. to reproduce (itself, its kind, etc.), as an organism does.
  3. to transmit (hereditary features or elements) to, or through, offspring.
  4. to spread (a report, doctrine, practice, etc.) from person to person; disseminate.
  5. to cause to increase in number or amount.
  6. to create (an effect) at a distance, as by electromagnetic waves, compression waves, etc., traveling through space or a physical medium; transmit: to propagate sound.
Show More
verb (used without object), prop·a·gat·ed, prop·a·gat·ing.
  1. to multiply by any process of natural reproduction, as organisms; breed.
  2. to increase in extent, as a structural flaw: The crack will propagate only to this joint.
  3. (of electromagnetic waves, compression waves, etc.) to travel through space or a physical medium.
Show More

Origin of propagate

1560–70; < Latin propāgātus (past participle of propāgāre to reproduce (a plant) by cuttings, spread for sprouting, propagate, enlarge), equivalent to propāg(ēs) something set out, scion, slip (pro- pro-1 + pāg-, base of pangere to fasten + -ēs noun suffix) + -ātus -ate1
Related formsprop·a·ga·tive, prop·a·ga·to·ry [prop-uh-guh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈprɒp ə gəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectiveprop·a·ga·tor, nounnon·prop·a·ga·tive, adjectiveself-prop·a·gat·ed, adjectiveself-prop·a·gat·ing, adjectiveun·prop·a·gat·ed, adjectiveun·prop·a·ga·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for propagate

multiply, proliferate, inseminate, transmit, publicize, circulate, disseminate, increase, impregnate, raise, engender, sire, fertilize, originate, father, bear, grow, procreate, produce, mother

Examples from the Web for propagate

Contemporary Examples of propagate

Historical Examples of propagate

  • But they have come into existence, and they propagate their wretched race.

  • The variety is difficult to propagate and, therefore, not in favor with nurserymen.

  • Why then not propagate the system of these happy districts in Ireland?

    The O'Donoghue

    Charles James Lever

  • What right have they to propagate the rottenness of their minds and bodies?

    The Crooked House

    Brandon Fleming

  • In his selection he must have a certain model in his eye, such as he wishes to propagate.

British Dictionary definitions for propagate


  1. biology to reproduce or cause to reproduce; breed
  2. (tr) horticulture to produce (plants) by layering, grafting, cuttings, etc
  3. (tr) to promulgate; disseminate
  4. physics to move through, cause to move through, or transmit, esp in the form of a waveto propagate sound
  5. (tr) to transmit (characteristics) from one generation to the next
Show More
Derived Formspropagation, nounpropagational, adjectivepropagative, adjective

Word Origin for propagate

C16: from Latin propāgāre to increase (plants) by cuttings, from propāgēs a cutting, from pangere to fasten
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 propagate


1560s, "to cause to multiply," from Latin propagatus, past participle of propagare "to set forward, extend, procreate" (see propagation). Intransitive sense "reproduce one's kind" is from c.1600. Related: Propagated; propagating.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

propagate in Medicine


  1. To cause an organism to multiply or breed.
  2. To breed offspring.
  3. To transmit characteristics from one generation to another.
  4. To cause to move in some direction or through a medium, such as a wave or nerve impulse.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.