In a Family Guy's episode, Season 3 Episode 13, Peter starts acting politely and behaves himself in his father-in-law's party also trying to act like the rich and blend. Suprised by this, Lois's father asks her how this happened and she replied, "he's cultured himself like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman." I've checked the meaning of culture in verb sense and found a couple of definitions that I'm not sure exactly which one fits the context esp. with a reflexive pronoun after the verb and considering that Peter doesn't really like his in-laws. If you want to paraphrase this sentence how would you go? Is this standard using of the word culture or simply an improvisation here and not a common usage?

  • 1
    I think it's very black humour, since you culture bacteria -- life-forms not known for their intelligence. Paraphrase it and you lose the joke.
    – Mick
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 16:41
  • It's a joke. Agree.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 16:53
  • I don't think any of the answers below point out that the quote has the meaning "He, himself, is cultured." This is not a use of the verb culture as a transitive. Cultured is adjectival here. Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 19:01
  • @P. E. Dent that's an interesting point of view and knowing Lois' good-natured way of speaking, it makes even more sense although let me quote the whole thing that made it a little hard to understand to me. You might have seen Pretty Woman and it probably makes more sense to you. Lois said, "he's cultured himself like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman."
    – Yuri
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 19:56
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    For future reference, you should include the episode number/title, or a larger portion of the dialogue. As it stands, "He, himself, is cultured." does not make sense as a response to the question "How did this happen?". At the moment, an improvisation, as J.R. puts it, makes the most sense, in my opinion. Another slightly less accurate way to put it would be "He educated himself."
    – Em.
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 21:24

4 Answers 4


I would say is an improvisation. The word culture isn't generally used as a verb in this context.

As a paraphrase, I'd suggest:

He's decided to become a more cultured person.


I would paraphrase it as:

He's cultivated himself.


  1. To acquire, develop, or refine, as by education: cultivating a posh accent.

Interesting question, I think that integrate is often used with a very similar connotation;

  • to mix with and join society or a group of people, often changing to suit their way of life, habits, and customs:

    • He seems to find it difficult to integrate socially. It's very difficult to integrate yourself into a society whose culture is so different from your own. Children are often very good at integrating into a new culture.

Cambridge Dictionary


It is an improvisation, with the meaning "He has made an effort to become cultured." Google search throws up just one additional example: "He's cultured himself in all types of music."

It sounds a little patronising, so don't use it at home.

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