Meaning of “breed” in the English Dictionary

"breed" in British English

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uk /briːd/ us /briːd/ bred, bred

breed verb (REPRODUCE)

B2 [ T ] to keep animals for the purpose of producing young animals in a controlled way:

Terriers are bred for their fighting instincts.
His main income comes from breeding cattle.

[ I ] (of animals) to have sex and produce young animals:

The blackbird, like most birds, breeds in the spring.

More examples

  • While the animals are still immature, they do not breed.
  • The map on the opposite page shows where these birds commonly breed.
  • She breeds pedigree Burmese cats.
  • Animals bred in captivity would probably not survive if they were released into the wild.
  • At this time of year the birds return to the island to breed.

breednoun [ C ]

uk /briːd/ us /briːd/

B2 a particular type of animal or plant:

a breed of dog/cat/horse/sheep/cattle
What's your favourite breed of dog/dog breed?

informal a type of person:

Arletty was that rare breed of actress - beautiful, sexy and funny.
A new breed of film-maker has taken over Hollywood.
Authentic blues singers are a dying breed (= becoming rare) these days.

More examples

  • The centre works to protect and preserve rare breeds of European sheep.
  • There is now a huge variety of dog breeds.
  • We have several breeds of deer in the park, not just one.
  • The Gloucester Old Spot is the oldest breed of pedigree spotted pig in the world.
  • Burmese, Oriental and Tonkinese are my favourite breeds of cat.

(Definition of “breed” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"breed" in American English

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breednoun [ C ]

us /brid/

a particular type of animal or plant:

the different breeds of dogs

A breed is also a type of person or thing:

Authentic blues singers are a dying breed (= there are not many of them left).

breedverb [ I/T ]

us /brid/ past tense and past participle bred /bred/

to keep animals or plants for the purpose of producing young animals or plants, often for chosen qualities:

[ T ] He bred hogs and cows and sold the meat and dairy products.

When animals breed, they reproduce.

(Definition of “breed” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)