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[em-bree-on-ik] /ˌɛm briˈɒn ɪk/
pertaining to or in the state of an embryo.
rudimentary; undeveloped.
Also, embryonal
[em-bree-uh-nl, em-bree-ohn-l] /ˈɛm bri ə nl, ˌɛm briˈoʊn l/ (Show IPA)
Origin of embryonic
1840-50; embryon- (see embryo) + -ic
Related forms
embryonically, adverb
nonembryonal, adjective
nonembryonic, adjective
nonembryonically, adverb
pseudoembryonic, adjective
unembryonal, adjective
unembryonic, adjective
2. underdeveloped, immature, unfinished. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for embryonic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The caterpillar and the chrysalis belong to the embryonic period.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • As the subject for observation he chose the blood of embryonic mice.

    Histology of the Blood Paul Ehrlich
  • It signifies springing into being or life from an embryonic condition.

  • It is an embryonic form, and therefore inferior in rank to the Tau moth.

    Our Common Insects Alpheus Spring Packard
  • The embryonic human being has been steadily increasing in size, meanwhile.

    Sex Henry Stanton
British Dictionary definitions for embryonic


of or relating to an embryo
in an early stage; rudimentary; undeveloped
Derived Forms
embryonically, 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
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Word Origin and History for embryonic

1849, from medical Latin embryonem (see embryo) + -ic. Figurative use is from 1856.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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embryonic in Medicine

embryonic em·bry·on·ic (ěm'brē-ŏn'ĭk) or em·bry·on·al (ěm'brē-ə-nəl)
Of, relating to, or being an embryo.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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embryonic in Science
  1. An animal in its earliest stage of development, before all the major body structures are represented. In humans, the embryonic stage lasts through the first eight weeks of pregnancy. In humans, other placental mammals, and other viviparous animals, young born as embryos cannot thrive. In marsupials, the young are born during the embryonic stage and complete their development outside the uterus, attached to a teat within the mother's pouch.

  2. The developing young of an egg-laying animal before hatching.

  3. The sporophyte of a plant in its earliest stages of development, such as the miniature, partially developed plant contained within a seed before germination.

embryonic adjective (ěm'brē-ŏn'ĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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