from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To put forth sprouts or buds; germinate.
  • intransitive v. To breed rapidly or abundantly.
  • intransitive v. To teem; swarm: a lagoon that pullulated with tropical fish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To rapidly multiply.
  • v. To germinate.
  • v. To teem with; to be filled with.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To germinate; to bud; to multiply abundantly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To germinate; bud.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. move in large numbers
  • v. breed freely and abundantly
  • v. be teeming, be abuzz
  • v. produce buds, branches, or germinate
  • v. become abundant; increase rapidly


Latin pullulāre, pullulāt-, from pullulus, diminutive of pullus, young fowl; see pullet.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the Latin pullulātus, perfect passive participle of pullulō ("sprout forth"), from pullulus ("a young animal, a sprout"), diminutive of pullus. (Wiktionary)


  • At first "pullulate" referred to sprouting, budding, and breeding around the farm; only later did it gain its

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • To remember the history of "pullulate," think chickens.

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • This may sound like odd advice, but it makes sense if you know that "pullulate" traces ultimately to the Latin noun "pullus," which means not only "sprout," but also "young of an animal" and, specifically,

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

  • May a corroding colony of carking cares be ever ready to pullulate afresh out of the secret springs of your anticipated comforts! and may the purgatorial pitch of the Slough of Despond envelope you eternally like flies in amber!

    A Dialogue for the Year 2130

  • Therefore spodizators, gesinins, memains, and parazons, be not culpable of dilatory protractions in the apposition of every re-roborating species, but rather let them pullulate and superabound on the tables.

    Five books of the lives, heroic deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel

  • His favorite ejaculation, "Lord!" occurs but once that I have observed in 1660, never in '61, twice in' 62, and at least five times in '63; after which the "Lords" may be said to pullulate like herrings, with here and there a solitary "damned," as it were a whale among the shoal.

    Harvard Classics Volume 28 Essays English and American

  • "His favourite ejaculation, 'Lord!' occurs," he declares, "but once that I have observed in 1660, never in '61, twice in' 62, and at least five times in '63; after which the' Lords 'may be said to pullulate like herrings, with here and there a solitary' damned, 'as it were a whale among the shoal."

    The Art of Letters

  • There is no fear that the professors who pullulate all over the Baltic Plain will overcome the

    The Appetite of Tyranny Including Letters to an Old Garibaldian

  • Hotels will appear out of the ground, guides and touts will pullulate at the railway station, the tour of the ruins will be mapped out, and the tourists and globe - trotters of the whole planet will follow that tour in batches like staring sheep.

    Over There War Scenes on the Western Front

  • Boccalini's _Ragguagli di Parnaso_, Bracciolini's _Scherno degli Dei_, have a touch of Tassoni's humor in them; while Achillini and Preti limp somewhat feebly after Marino's Alcibidean swagger, and endless pastorals pullulate from Guarini's tragi-comedy.

    Renaissance in Italy, Volumes 1 and 2 The Catholic Reaction


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  • This word (along with its various forms) gives me the creeps. Reminds me of this book.

    May 10, 2011

  • join the teem, and skim the cream

    May 12, 2008

  • ah! I'd forgotten this one! Thank you, Latin; I miss you.

    May 10, 2008