When you want to make a wild animal, let's say a lion, give up some of its natural instincts and be nice to it's potential prey (aka human!), do you "domesticate" it or do you "tame" it? I couldn't find the difference.


If you were simply removing the instincts that made the lion a threat, you would say that you tamed it.

Domesticate generally means that the lion would then be suitable to keep in the house or in your yard/garden or on your farm. Domesticating would mean that the lion had been tamed but you can also tame a lion without domesticating it.


When talking about a single animal, domesticate can be used as a synonym for tame.

If you are talking about a species though, domesticate is used rather than tame.

You couldn't use tame in place of domesticate here:

Cattle were domesticated about ten thousand years ago.

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