a. The arts, beliefs, customs, institutions, and other products of human work and thought considered as a unit, especially with regard to a particular time or social group: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture.
b. These arts, beliefs, and other products considered with respect to a particular subject or mode of expression: musical culture; oral culture.
c. The set of predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize a group or organization: a manager who changed the corporate culture.
2. Mental refinement and sophisticated taste resulting from the appreciation of the arts and sciences: a woman of great culture.
3. Special training and development: voice culture for singers and actors.
4. The cultivation of soil; tillage: the culture of the soil.
5. The breeding or cultivation of animals or plants for food, the improvement of stock, or other purposes.
a. The growing of microorganisms, tissue cells, or other living matter in a specially prepared nutrient medium.
b. Such a growth or colony, as of bacteria.
tr.v. cul·tured, cul·tur·ing, cul·tures
1. To cultivate (soil or plants).
a. To grow (microorganisms or other living matter) in a specially prepared nutrient medium.
b. To use (a substance) as a medium for culture: culture milk.
[Middle English, cultivation, from Old French, from Latin cultūra, from cultus, past participle of colere; see CULTIVATE.]
(click for a larger image)culture
culture of rice blast fungus, Pyricularia grisea, growing in a petri dish
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.