When people live in or occupy a country, city, or town, they populate it. It doesn’t always refer to people — bugs might populate your kitchen if you leave half-eaten food out.

If your family lives alone on an island, you're the only people who populate it. You can also use this verb to mean "be present in," so you might say that vampires populate your favorite books, or that animated characters populate most of the movies you watch. Populate also means "fill in" in computing: "Will you populate that spreadsheet with data?" The Latin populus, or "people," is at the root of populate.

Definitions of populate
  1. verb
    inhabit or live in; be an inhabitant of
    “deer are populating the woods”
    synonyms: dwell, inhabit, live
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    occupy as a tenant
    neighbor, neighbour
    live or be located as a neighbor
    lodge in, occupy, reside
    live (in a certain place)
    domicile, domiciliate, reside, shack
    make one's home in a particular place or community
    furnish with people
    cause to have too great a population
    cohabit, live together, shack up
    share living quarters; usually said of people who are not married and live together as a couple
    be a lodger; stay temporarily
    bivouac, camp, camp out, encamp, tent
    live in or as if in a tent
    inhabit a nest, usually after building
    board, room
    live and take one's meals at or in
    move in
    occupy a place
    live in the country and lead a rustic life
    stay at
    reside temporarily
    occupy (a dwelling) illegally
    sleep over, stay over
    stay overnight
    occupy, usually uninvited
    marry or cohabit with a person of another race
    type of:
    occupy a certain position or area; be somewhere
  2. verb
    fill with inhabitants
    populate the forest with deer and wild boar for hunting”
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    fill with people
    type of:
    fill, fill up, make full
    make full, also in a metaphorical sense
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