v. bred (brĕd), breed·ing, breeds
1. To produce (offspring); give birth to or hatch.
2. To bring about; engender: "Admission of guilt tends to breed public sympathy" (Jonathan Alter).
a. To cause to reproduce, especially by controlled mating and selection: breed cattle.
b. To develop new or improved strains in (organisms), chiefly through controlled mating and selection of offspring for desirable traits.
c. To inseminate or impregnate; mate with.
4. To rear or train; bring up: a writer who was bred in a seafaring culture.
5. To be the place of origin of: Austria breeds great skiers.
6. To produce (fissionable material) in a breeder reactor.
1. To produce offspring.
2. To copulate; mate.
3. To originate and develop: Mischief breeds in bored minds.
1. A group of organisms having common ancestors and certain distinguishable characteristics, especially a group within a species developed by artificial selection and maintained by controlled propagation.
2. A kind; a sort: a new breed of politician; a new breed of computer.
3. Offensive A person of mixed racial descent; a half-breed.
breed a scab/scabs on (one's) nose Regional
To stir up trouble for oneself.
breed up a storm New England
To become cloudy.
[Middle English breden, from Old English brēdan; see bhreu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus