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 ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.