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the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.
that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.
a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period:
Greek culture.
development or improvement of the mind by education or training.
the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group:
the youth culture; the drug culture.
Anthropology. the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

the cultivation of microorganisms, as bacteria, or of tissues, for scientific study, medicinal use, etc.
the product or growth resulting from such cultivation.

the act or practice of cultivating the soil; tillage.
the raising of plants or animals, especially with a view to their improvement.
the product or growth resulting from such cultivation.
to subject to culture; cultivate.

to grow (microorganisms, tissues, etc.) in or on a controlled or defined medium.
to introduce (living material) into a .

Contemporary Examples

Not only is it possible, it is absolutely essential that a nation hold on to its culture in a globalized economy.
Aravind Adiga Responds to Our Readers The Daily Beast July 29, 2009

A brilliant city rich with culture, customs and the best accent on earth.
Gal With a Suitcase Jolie Hunt February 25, 2011

Those are Western terms, laden with connotations of culture and medicalization.
Why Africa’s Turning Anti-Gay Jay Michaelson March 30, 2014

Most Cacophony events were one-off affairs, just enough to jam the culture a bit before moving on.
Before the Bros, SantaCon Was as an Anti-Corporate Protest David Freedlander December 11, 2014

It is about taking direct steps to create a culture of collaboration and innovation.
Yahoo Has It Backward: Why Working Remotely Is Better for Everyone Ellen Galinsky February 25, 2013

Historical Examples

For culture certainly means something quite different from learning or technical skill.
Science and Education Thomas H. Huxley

Give everyone his culture, and no one will offer him more than his due.
A Treatise on Parents and Children George Bernard Shaw

That is as much as to say that a great deal of what we call Semitic culture is fundamentally non-Semitic.
History Of Egypt, Chalda, Syria, Babylonia, And Assyria In The Light Of Recent Discovery L.W. King and H.R. Hall

I was a man who stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age.
De Profundis Oscar Wilde

Who can estimate the enormous influence of Confucius and Laotse in moulding and rendering uniform the culture of China?
The Group Mind William McDougall

the total of the inherited ideas, beliefs, values, and knowledge, which constitute the shared bases of social action
the total range of activities and ideas of a group of people with shared traditions, which are transmitted and reinforced by members of the group: the Mayan culture
a particular civilization at a particular period
the artistic and social pursuits, expression, and tastes valued by a society or class, as in the arts, manners, dress, etc
the enlightenment or refinement resulting from these pursuits
the attitudes, feelings, values, and behaviour that characterize and inform society as a whole or any social group within it: yob culture
the cultivation of plants, esp by scientific methods designed to improve stock or to produce new ones
(stockbreeding) the rearing and breeding of animals, esp with a view to improving the strain
the act or practice of tilling or cultivating the soil

the experimental growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, in a nutrient substance (culture medium), usually under controlled conditions See also culture medium
a group of microorganisms grown in this way

verb (transitive)
to cultivate (plants or animals)
to grow (microorganisms) in a culture medium

mid-15c., “the tilling of land,” from Middle French culture and directly from Latin cultura “a cultivating, agriculture,” figuratively “care, culture, an honoring,” from past participle stem of colere “tend, guard, cultivate, till” (see cult). The figurative sense of “cultivation through education” is first attested c.1500. Meaning “the intellectual side of civilization” is from 1805; that of “collective customs and achievements of a people” is from 1867.

For without culture or holiness, which are always the gift of a very few, a man may renounce wealth or any other external thing, but he cannot renounce hatred, envy, jealousy, revenge. Culture is the sanctity of the intellect. [William Butler Yeats]

Slang culture vulture is from 1947. Culture shock first recorded 1940.

culture cul·ture (kŭl’chər)

The growing of microorganisms, tissue cells, or other living matter in a specially prepared nutrient medium.

Such a growth or colony, as of bacteria.

v. cul·tured, cul·tur·ing, cul·tures

To grow microorganisms or other living matter in a specially prepared nutrient medium.

To use a substance as a medium for culture.


A growth of microorganisms, viruses, or tissue cells in a specially prepared nutrient medium under supervised conditions.

The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. Culture is learned and shared within social groups and is transmitted by nongenetic means.

Verb To grow microorganisms, viruses, or tissue cells in a nutrient medium.

The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another. Culture is transmitted, through language, material objects, ritual, institutions, and art, from one generation to the next.

Note: Anthropologists consider that the requirements for culture (language use, tool making, and conscious regulation of sex) are essential features that distinguish humans from other animals.

Note: Culture also refers to refined music, art, and literature; one who is well versed in these subjects is considered “cultured.”


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