A culture is a specific group of people during a particular time — like the hippie culture of the 1960’s. Culture can also imply exposure to the arts. Visit a museum if you are in need of a dose of culture.

A useful thing to remember about culture is that it is closely related to cultivate, whose root meaning is “to till the soil.” Even in Latin, the source language, cultura was used metaphorically (Cicero said philosophy was cultura animi, the “cultivation of the soul”), and in English it moved from the agricultural sense to training, development of language and literature, mental development through education, and finally the ideas, customs, and intellectual and artistic conditions of a society or group.

Definitions of culture
  1. noun

    all the knowledge and values shared by a society

    see moresee less



    a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation)
    type of:

    cognitive content, content, mental object

    the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned

  2. noun

    a particular society at a particular time and place

    civilisation, civilization
    see moresee less


    show 10 types…
    hide 10 types…
    Aegean civilisation, Aegean civilization, Aegean culture

    the prehistoric civilization on the islands in the Aegean sea and the surrounding countries
    Helladic civilisation, Helladic civilization, Helladic culture

    the bronze-age culture of mainland Greece that flourished 2500-1100 BC
    Indus civilization

    the bronze-age culture of the Indus valley that flourished from about 2600-1750 BC
    Minoan civilisation, Minoan civilization, Minoan culture

    the bronze-age culture of Crete that flourished 3000-1100 BC
    Mycenaean civilisation, Mycenaean civilization, Mycenaean culture

    the late bronze-age culture of Mycenae that flourished 1400-1100 BC
    Paleo-American culture, Paleo-Amerind culture, Paleo-Indian culture

    the prehistoric culture of the earliest human inhabitants of North America and South America
    Western civilization, Western culture

    the modern culture of western Europe and North America
    Cyclades, Cycladic civilisation, Cycladic civilization, Cycladic culture

    the Bronze Age civilization on the Cyclades islands in the southern Aegean Sea that flourished 3000-1100 BC
    Clovis culture

    the Paleo-American culture of Central America and North America; distinguished chiefly by sharp fluted projectile points made of obsidian or chalcedony
    Folsom culture

    the Paleo-American culture of Central America and North America; distinguished chiefly by a thin finely made flint projectile point having the shape of a leaf
    type of:


    an extended social group having a distinctive cultural and economic organization

  3. noun

    the attitudes and behavior that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization

    “the developing drug
    “the reason that the agency is doomed to inaction has something to do with the FBI
    see moresee less



    the culture that emerges from the use of computers for communication and entertainment and business
    Kalashnikov culture

    the attitudes and behavior in a social group that resolves political disputes by force of arms
    mosaic culture

    a highly diverse culture
    type of:

    attitude, mental attitude

    a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways

  4. noun

    the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group

    see moresee less


    show 4 types…
    hide 4 types…

    a culture with lifestyles and values opposed to those of the established culture
    mass culture

    the culture that is widely disseminated via the mass media

    the literary culture
    flower power

    a counterculture of young people in the US during the 1960s and 70s
    type of:

    appreciation, discernment, perceptiveness, taste

    delicate discrimination (especially of aesthetic values)

  5. noun

    (biology) the growing of microorganisms in a nutrient medium (such as gelatin or agar)

    culture of cells in a Petri dish”
    see moresee less



    a culture containing yeast or bacteria that is used to start the process of fermentation or souring in making butter or cheese or dough
    type of:

    development, growing, growth, maturation, ontogenesis, ontogeny

    (biology) the process of an individual organism growing organically; a purely biological unfolding of events involved in an organism changing gradually from a simple to a more complex level

  6. verb

    grow in a special preparation

    see moresee less

    type of:


    cause to grow or develop

  7. noun

    the raising of plants or animals

    culture of oysters”
    see moresee less


    show 4 types…
    hide 4 types…
    cranberry culture

    the cultivation of cranberries

    the cultivation of a single crop (on a farm or area or country)

    the cultivation of soil for raising crops
    viniculture, viticulture

    the cultivation of grapes and grape vines; grape growing
    type of:


    (agriculture) production of food by preparing the land to grow crops (especially on a large scale)

  8. noun

    a highly developed state of perfection; having a flawless or impeccable quality

    cultivation, finish, polish, refinement
    see moresee less

    type of:

    flawlessness, ne plus ultra, perfection

    the state of being without a flaw or defect

Word Family