Definition of cull in English:



  • 1 Select from a large quantity; obtain from a variety of sources.

    ‘anecdotes culled from Greek and Roman history’
    • ‘I asked participants to assess a single set of attributes culled from interviews with other organization members.’
    • ‘They have been culled from various sources, east and west.’
    • ‘I was disappointed when I saw the condition of the outfit I carefully culled out of the closet that morning.’
    • ‘The chapters the editors have culled together do not really address these criteria.’
    • ‘In some cases, the songs were culled from television variety shows.’
    • ‘The images in the final work you see are carefully culled from hours and hours of footage.’
    • ‘The rents for the year 1827-28 were culled mostly from notices in the Chester Chronicle.’
    • ‘"For the English translation we further culled out 58 poems," he said.’
    • ‘As it is, recipes are culled from the usual historical sources.’
    • ‘The piece mirrors a harmonious blend of contemporary fashion culled out of traditional art form.’
    • ‘The song list features a wide variety of material, culled from albums recorded throughout the band's entire career.’
    • ‘The list of thirty-eight downgraded or seriously questioned works has been culled from a wide variety of specialist publications.’
    • ‘Many of these sources were taken out of context or culled from secondary sources.’
    • ‘These lists have been culled from a variety of critical essays and reviews.’
    • ‘The information is from my own notebook, and was culled from several sources.’
    • ‘His paintings are intensely private visions culled from a variety of photographic and other source materials.’
    • ‘Around that heart is a lot of goofy bits culled together from almost every other romantic comedy ever made.’
    • ‘That this work is not might be a result of the fact that it was culled from a variety of sources (including some radio sessions in New York), with some of the tracks dating back to 2001.’
    • ‘Often the anecdotes he has culled from various sources seen contradictory.’
    • ‘Here, culled from a variety of management books, are fifty-five ideas on better managing your organization.’
    select, choose, pick, take, obtain, get, glean
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    1. 1.1Reduce the population of (a wild animal) by selective slaughter.
      ‘he sees culling deer as a necessity’
      ‘kangaroo culling’
      • ‘The hunt, which they help fund and support, maintains a pack of hounds which is uniquely good at tracking the few deer which the hunt's stalkers damage without killing when they cull deer.’
      • ‘More than 160,000 deer are culled each year because they damage crops and conservation areas through grazing or cause traffic accidents.’
      • ‘Deer surely have always been culled in Richmond Park one way or another.’
      • ‘As medical science conquers diseases that used to cull the population, so more people are succumbing to one or another form of cancer.’
      • ‘The consequent delay in warning the public and taking measures such as culling chicken populations has probably been a factor in enabling the disease to spread.’
      • ‘Discussion of the number of deer culled by the hunts I believe is academic.’
      • ‘The wolves were culled in order to allow moose populations in those areas to increase for hunting purposes.’
      • ‘Calls have been made to cull the geese, who have grown rapidly in population in the last few years on Bedford's Embankment.’
      • ‘This just proves it is an ineffective method of culling the fox population.’
      • ‘Other wildlife veterinarians disagree, however, arguing that untreated disease and inbreeding have culled the reindeer population.’
      • ‘And at times, the Game Department engaged in culling operations to reduce elephant populations in certain areas and relieve pressures on the habitat.’
      • ‘Simply for these numbers to stand still, 25-30 per cent of the population must be culled each year.’
      • ‘Farmers are calling for drastic measure to cull the population explosion of rabbits.’
      • ‘Closed seasons themselves will not actually prevent a population decline unless culling levels are quite low even during the open season.’
      • ‘Hunters selectively cull the does to make more forage available for the bucks.’
      • ‘The same applies to culling wild horses, which are doing incredible damage in some National Parks.’
      • ‘Since December, 800,000 birds have been culled in an effort to eradicate bird flu.’
      • ‘Japan reported an outbreak in early January, isolating farms and culling birds.’
      • ‘They may soon be looking for some sporting-types to cull their booming population of man-eating crocodiles.’
      • ‘We must stop herding and culling herds of human cattle, as policy.’
      slaughter, kill, destroy
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    2. 1.2Send (an inferior or surplus animal on a farm) to be slaughtered.
      • ‘In March 2001, during the foot-and-mouth crisis, 800 of his farm's sheep were culled after dangerous contact with infected animals, although there were no signs of the disease in the flock.’
      • ‘Many pet pigs were culled during the Foot and Mouth epidemic - some quite needlessly in the contagious cull - and people were so heartbroken that they haven't replaced them.’
      • ‘An entrenched battle exploded between conservationists and planners over whether to cull surplus animals for meat and hides, in addition to shearing them.’
      • ‘Five animals were culled after the initial test in January.’
      • ‘Cows were culled only on the basis of structural unsoundness and, infrequently, temperament until the fall of 1990.’
      • ‘Countryside dwellers are planning direct action protests should a North Yorkshire landfill site be used to bury foot and mouth culled cattle.’
      • ‘Although there is no legal requirement to cull the cows, farmers have said it may not be profitable to keep them alive.’
      • ‘Currently around 140 cattle are culled each week, some of which are incinerated locally, the remainder shipped to mainland Scotland.’
      • ‘Furthermore, for every infected farm the animals on neighbouring farms were culled as a precautionary measure.’
      • ‘More than 1,500 animals on five neighbouring farms had been culled as a precaution by last night.’
      • ‘Infertility, regardless of cause, is a major reason for culling animals.’
      • ‘However, 125 sheep were culled and removed from the farm in sealed containers.’
      • ‘The farmer would either cull the vulnerable calves or, if they are valuable for other reasons, treat them for parasites and then sell the meat in the nonorganic market.’
      • ‘Armed police swooped on a farm following reports of gunfire - to find a farmer culling animals.’
      • ‘Close to 700,000 older milking and breeding cattle are culled from the national herd each year.’
      • ‘Farmers in the Eastern Cape started culling their pigs earlier this week after the first sign of the disease two weeks ago.’
      • ‘The 211 cattle and 1,000 sheep at Mount Pleasant Farm have been culled and the slaughter of livestock at two contiguous farms was continuing yesterday.’
      • ‘In June, he culled his older cows and sold them in pairs with their calves.’
      • ‘Cull any cow that is aggressive or difficult to control.’
      • ‘But his ministry says it does not have the funds to compensate poultry farmers whose birds are culled, or to perform the mass culls themselves.’
    3. 1.3literary Pick (flowers or fruit)
      ‘fresh culled daffodils’
      • ‘But he could not have based all his multifarious descriptions on personal research, and like any other seeker after knowledge he borrowed other men's observations and culled other men's flowers.’
      • ‘Thus the brother, perusing the books of many saints like a clever bee, culled the flowers of divine quotations.’


  • 1A selective slaughter of wild animals.

    • ‘The cull of sheep in the north was completed on Monday.’
    • ‘He said that there were international guidelines that governed the selective cull of infected animals.’
    • ‘Suggestions include a partial cull, transferring the birds elsewhere - or stopping people from feeding them.’
    • ‘But the Conservatives argued the Government should be bringing forward specific plans for a badger cull immediately.’
    • ‘Unfortunately their upkeep is so expensive - £468,000 a year - that the council is carrying out a cull.’
    • ‘A mass cull is the only way to make sure that all these sheep are killed.’
    • ‘A total of more than 9,500 sheep and cattle were involved in confirmed outbreaks and contiguous culls.’
    • ‘Last year there was an outcry when a cull of the birds was suggested.’
    • ‘The contiguous cull led to the slaughter of millions of healthy animals four years ago.’
    • ‘The proposed cull would be the first since a moratorium was declared in 1995.’
    • ‘An executive spokesman said there were no plans for a seal cull in Scottish waters.’
    • ‘The pre-emptive cull of healthy animals in Cumbria is not happening at the pace the government intended.’
    • ‘Scientists have started work and one remedy suggested is a cull of the birds.’
    • ‘The hugely controversial contiguous cull of livestock to combat the foot-and-mouth epidemic was stoutly defended by the Government.’
    • ‘We do not support the idea of wasting beef from perfectly healthy animals through an extraordinary cattle cull.’
    • ‘The cull of healthy animals was delayed last week as authorities dealt with the backlog of confirmed cases.’
    • ‘Culls have been carried out at all 381 farms.’
    • ‘In Scotland, troops were last night overseeing a mass pre-emptive cull of apparently healthy sheep to halt the spread.’
    • ‘A mass cull is the only known method of ensuring the disease does not spread.’
    1. 1.1[usually as modifier]An inferior or surplus livestock animal selected for killing.
      [as modifier] ‘a cull cow’
      • ‘Cows removed from the herd as reproductive culls were excluded also.’
      • ‘However, the primiparous heifer that is open is likely to bring cull cow price or a price at least between the cull cow and an open yearling.’
      • ‘At the time of marketing, cull cows were individually weighed, and BCS was recorded.’
      • ‘The old ' cull ewes' sold for as little as two pounds apiece.’
      • ‘Reduce stocking rate by selling yearlings or cull cows.’
      • ‘They are the vast majority of UK farmers who have not been ‘taken out’ in livestock culls; farmers who must find markets for their animals, even though they know they will be selling at a loss.’
      • ‘The cull heifer prices used were for 1999, the cull cow for 2000, and the calf price for the first calf was for 2000.’
      • ‘Feeding cull cows a feedlot diet for a period of time before selling may improve quality of animals and overall profitability.’
      • ‘He hasn't sold a cull sow since February.’
      • ‘The development costs for all heifers were adjusted by the income from the sale of cull heifers.’
      • ‘He said any increase in cull ewe numbers were being sold through the live export trade.’
      • ‘Our beef calves and our cull sows are still sold on a conventional pricing system.’
      • ‘Cull cow prices have eased slightly this week.’
      • ‘The kill of heifers was up 3% at 431,901 head and cull cows were 4% higher at 335,008 head.’
      • ‘They'll take all the cull ewes and rams we send them, and even pay a decent price.’
      • ‘Sustainable cowherds require replacement of cull cows either internally via raised heifers or externally with purchased females.’
      • ‘A total of 80 cull cows from four ranches were received at a commercial feedlot near Miles City, MI, in mid-November.’
      • ‘The drop in cull cow prices was reflected across the board.’
      • ‘Cull cow prices showed a sharp increase.’
      • ‘One Teagasc survey showed that 20% of beef cattle and cull cows had inadequate levels of copper.’


Middle English: from Old French coillier, based on Latin colligere (see collect).