Is "publicate" well used word? It only dates back to the 16th century according to Oxford Dictionaries, and most likely it's a backformation of "publication".

But there are more than 23k hits on GitHub. I'm not quite sure if it's already gained traction as fairly used word...

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  • 1
    The dictionary you're referring to is known as "Oxford Dictionaries" (among other names). The OED (oed.com) is a completely different dictionary and can be only accessed by subscription. I fixed that in addition to some grammatical mistakes in your post.
    – Laurel
    Oct 25, 2018 at 3:59
  • Thank your for correcting me, it's really helpful, will keep that in kind! Oct 25, 2018 at 4:16
  • For what it's worth, if you let it guess the language Google Translate thinks publicate is Romanian.
    – tmgr
    Jan 4, 2019 at 14:33

2 Answers 2


Here are the dictionaries I usually check:

American Heritage Dictionary: No entry.
Collins Dictionary: No entry.
Random House Dictionary (dictionary.com): No entry.
Macmillan Dictionary: No entry.
Cambridge Dictionary: No entry.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: No entry.
Oxford Learner's Dictionary: No entry.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
archaic : publish

Oxford Living Dictionaries:
rare with object To publish; to make publicly known, expose.

Wiktionary: 1.(rare, transitive) To publish or make publicly known.
(Note Wiktionary often features entries that other more "official" dictionaries don't. Also note the similarity in definitions between OLO and Wiktionary, one taken from the other or just coincidence?).

It has an entry on Urban Dictionary (considered a slang dictionary), with its top definition having an up-to-down vote ratio of 16 to 6, which I consider bad.

There are other dictionaries which are subscription-based (ie., you pay money), the best probably being the OED, which unlike most other dictionaries is a historical dictionary which will give more details about a word than probably any other dictionary. Unfortunately I don't have a subscription both because I am cheap and don't have a library that gives its members a free subscription.

The fact that you have seen many results on GitHub may simply be due to the fact that it's used by a certain sub-culture of people or a jargon word that's used in a particular field. For example "performant" isn't listed in most dictionaries, but many "computer people" are known to use it. Another possibility could be this is due to to a phenomenon you see from non- native English speakers. In this case a backformation of an "-ation"-ending noun to create the verb is attempted. I'm not saying this is the case with publicate, as publicate may have a history in older native English. Other words like this that appear in some dictionaries and not in others are words like configure/configurate, compile/compilate. If you do a search for any of these words ending in "-ate" where there's an established noun of the "-ation" form, you find plenty of results in English. That doesn't mean they're necessarily common or used or even recognised as words.

Either way I guess if you use "publicate" you will receive strange looks, unless of course it has a common and understood meaning in the GitHub world.

  • Thank you for comment. I didn't know that there are as many dictionaries as you mentioned. The majority of people on GitHub are probably non-native English speakers, so maybe they just use words without asking to natives (as it's often the case that we usually don't have natives around us while at work). Thank you for your feedback! Jan 4, 2019 at 14:48

According to Oxford Dictionaries,




with object: To publish; to make publicly known, expose."

So, no, it is not a well-used word. It's rare and, while used in some circumstances, it's archaic enough that many people will feel the need to google its meaning. It isn't that you can't use it, but you should be careful when you do use it.

  • 1
    Like I just said elsewhere on this page (for the exact same link), the dictionary you're citing is not the OED, it's Oxford Dictionaries.
    – Laurel
    Oct 25, 2018 at 4:01
  • @SoraTamashii thanks for your answer! <br/> > it's archaic enough that many people will feel the need to google its meaning. <br/> totally right! Oct 25, 2018 at 4:12
  • For the people who downvoted this answer, please tell me what is incorrect with what I said. Nov 16, 2018 at 19:58

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