• synonyms


[an-uh-roh-bik, an-ai-]
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  1. (of an organism or tissue) living in the absence of air or free oxygen.
  2. pertaining to or caused by the absence of oxygen.

Origin of anaerobic

First recorded in 1880–85; anaerobe + -ic
Related formsan·aer·o·bi·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for anaerobically

Historical Examples

  • For any particular experiment prepare a smear culture on agar and incubate at 37° C. for 24 hours anaerobically.

    The Elements of Bacteriological Technique

    John William Henry Eyre

British Dictionary definitions for anaerobically


  1. (of an organism or process) requiring the absence of or not dependent on the presence of oxygen
  2. of or relating to anaerobes
Compare aerobic
Derived Formsanaerobically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for anaerobically



"capable of living without oxygen," 1879 (as anaerobian; modern form first attested 1884), from French anaérobie, coined 1863 by French bacteriologist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), from Greek an- "without" (see an- (1)) + aer "air" (see air (n.1)) + bios "life" (see bio-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

anaerobically in Medicine


(ăn′ə-rōbĭk, -â-rōbĭk)
  1. Relating to or being an anaerobe.
  2. Living without oxygen.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

anaerobically in Science


  1. Occurring in the absence of oxygen or not requiring oxygen to live. Anaerobic bacteria produce energy from food molecules without the presence of oxygen. Compare aerobic.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

anaerobically in Culture


[(an-uh-roh-bik, an-air-oh-bik)]

A descriptive term for a process, such as fermentation, that can proceed only in the absence of oxygen, or a living thing that can survive only in the absence of oxygen. (Compare aerobic.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.