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 formsout·pop·u·late, verb (used with object), out·pop·u·lat·ed, out·pop·u·lat·ing.re·pop·u·late, verb (used with object), re·pop·u·lat·ed, re·pop·u·lat·ing.su·per·pop·u·lat·ed, adjectiveun·der·pop·u·late, verb (used with object), un·der·pop·u·lat·ed, un·der·pop·u·lat·ing.un·pop·u·lat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for repopulate

Historical Examples of repopulate

  • She looks as though she was made to repopulate a desert unaided.

    The Dangerous Age

    Karin Michalis

  • They have been known to repopulate their territories after an epidemic, or at least after the destruction of their Aphides.

  • By Sunday he had 1400 men with whom to quiet the panic and restore peace and repopulate the deserted country.

    The Last American Frontier

    Frederic L. (Frederic Logan) Paxson

  • At Pemaquid Point he laid out the plan of a city which he divided into lots, inviting settlers to repopulate the country.

  • Set me upon a coral atoll with that volume, I will repopulate the world with dictionaries, and beget lusty tomes.


    Christopher Morley

British Dictionary definitions for repopulate


verb (tr)

to provide a new population for (an area in which the population has declined)


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 repopulate

1590s, from re- + populate (v.). Related: Repopulated; repopulating.



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