• synonyms


  1. the act or art of cultivating.
  2. the state of being cultivated.
  3. culture; refinement.
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Origin of cultivation

First recorded in 1690–1700; cultivate + -ion
Related formsnon·cul·ti·va·tion, nouno·ver·cul·ti·va·tion, nounpre·cul·ti·va·tion, nounre·cul·ti·va·tion, nounself-cul·ti·va·tion, nounun·cul·ti·va·tion, noun


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for self-cultivation

Historical Examples

  • There were always sitters in his studio: he had as much work as he could do; while yet he found time for self-cultivation.

    Art in England

    Dutton Cook

  • There is no calling which allows of so much leisure for study and so many opportunities for self-cultivation.

  • It is a notorious fact that the average person does not perceive the importance of self-cultivation.

  • It is not easy to find a man who after three years of self-cultivation has not reached happiness.

  • Art seems almost to demand self-absorption, self-cultivation, however noble be the ultimate end it sets in view.


    Arthur Christopher Benson

British Dictionary definitions for self-cultivation


  1. agriculture
    1. the planting, tending, improving, or harvesting of crops or plants
    2. the preparation of ground to promote their growth
  2. development, esp through education, training, etc
  3. culture or sophistication, esp social refinement
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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 self-cultivation



c.1700, of knowledge, etc., a figurative use, from French cultivation (16c.), noun of action from cultiver, from Latin cultivare "to till" (see cultivate). Meaning "raising of a plant or crop" is from 1719; literal sense of "tilling of the land" is from 1725.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

self-cultivation in Medicine


  1. The process of promoting the growth of a biological culture.
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Related formsculti•vate′ v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.