Definition of pollinate in English:



[with object]
  • Convey pollen to or deposit pollen on (a stigma, ovule, flower, or plant) and so allow fertilization.

    ‘there are not enough bees to pollinate their crops’
    ‘large tubular bird-pollinated flowers’
    • ‘Bees are fooled into pollinating the bee orchid and the wispy, twisting petals of the rare lizard orchid closely resemble lizards.’
    • ‘Maize pollen was used as a control to pollinate wheat, using the method described previously by Inagaki.’
    • ‘Plants are already showing signs of bursting into bloom too early at a time when there are no insects around to pollinate their flowers.’
    • ‘Grasses, rushes, and sedges all produce flowers that must be pollinated for sexual reproduction to occur.’
    • ‘It then pollinates the seed, but the actual fertilization of the seed does not occur until the fall, usually after the seed has fallen off the tree and the fleshy seed coat has rotted away.’
    • ‘As well as pollinating the orchids, the bees are the chief pollinators of canopy trees.’
    • ‘This plant is pollinated by bees and can be both out- and in-breeding.’
    • ‘As the females search for egg sites, they pollinate the flowers with pollen carried from the fig where they were born.’
    • ‘Hand pollinating the orchid has increased seed production, which allows for augmentation of existing populations and introduction of seed to start new populations.’
    • ‘He doesn't use pesticides, or chemical fertilisers; he keeps a few bees to pollinate the flowers.’
    • ‘Plants grown from teosinte seeds were pollinated with maize pollen.’
    • ‘By contrast, there are only about a thousand commercial beekeepers in the U.S., people who make a living harvesting and selling honey and wax and renting bees to farmers to pollinate their crops.’
    • ‘In other Magnolia species predominantly pollinated by beetles, pollen shortage or inefficient pollination has been reported.’
    • ‘When one of the small flowers is pollinated and fertilized, it goes to seed and snakes outward in a fuchsia-colored curlicue.’
    • ‘Butterflies, flies and small bees pollinate flowers less frequently, and deposit smaller pollen loads, than large bees.’
    • ‘The pollinating fly Philoliche aethiopica is unable to distinguish between the two, thus pollinating the orchid without a nectar reward.’
    • ‘Like their fruitbat cousins, these bats may occasionally damage crops or gardens, but on the whole play a beneficial role in transporting seeds and in pollinating several species of plants.’
    • ‘There were no objections to their plans and in fact many of the allotment holders welcomed them, saying the bees would help to pollinate their crops.’
    • ‘The stigmas were then pollinated with pollen from a flower whose anther had dehisced that day.’
    • ‘Every year, beekeepers send their best bees throughout the country to help pollinate crops, one farm at a time.’
    cross-pollinate, cross-fertilize, make fruitful
    View synonyms


Late 19th century: from Latin pollen, pollin- ‘pollen’ + -ate.