Try Our Apps


Words You've Been Using Wrong


or procaryote

[proh-kar-ee-oht, -ee-uh t] /proʊˈkær iˌoʊt, -i ət/
any cellular organism that has no nuclear membrane, no organelles in the cytoplasm except ribosomes, and has its genetic material in the form of single continuous strands forming coils or loops, characteristic of all organisms in the kingdom Monera, as the bacteria and blue-green algae.
Compare eukaryote.
Origin of prokaryote
taken as singular of New Latin Prokaryota, earlier Procaryotes (1925); see pro-1, eukaryote
Related forms
[proh-kar-ee-ot-ik] /proʊˌkær iˈɒt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for prokaryotes


any organism having cells in each of which the genetic material is in a single DNA chain, not enclosed in a nucleus. Bacteria and archaeans are prokaryotes Compare eukaryote
Derived Forms
prokaryotic, procaryotic (prəʊˌkærɪˈɒtɪk) adjective
Word Origin
from pro-² + karyo- + -ote as in zygote
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for prokaryotes



1963, from French procaryote (1925), from Greek pro- (see pro-) + karyon "nut, kernel" (see karyo-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
prokaryotes in Medicine

prokaryote pro·kar·y·ote or pro·car·y·ote (prō-kār'ē-ōt')
An organism of the kingdom Prokaryotae, constituting the bacteria and cyanobacteria, characterized by the absence of a nuclear membrane and by DNA that is not organized into chromosomes.

pro·kar'y·ot'ic (-ŏt'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
prokaryotes in Science
Any of a wide variety of one-celled organisms of the kingdom Monera (or Prokaryota) that are the most primitive and ancient known forms of life. Prokaryotes lack a distinct cell nucleus and their DNA is not organized into chromosomes. They also lack the internal structures bound by membranes called organelles, such as mitochondria. At the molecular level, prokaryotes differ from eukaryotes in the structure of their lipids and of certain metabolic enzymes, and in how genes are expressed for protein synthesis. Prokaryotes reproduce asexually and include the bacteria and blue-green algae. Also called moneran. Compare eukaryote. See Table at taxonomy.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
prokaryotes in Culture
prokaryotes [(proh-kar-ee-oht)]

Organisms whose cells do not have a nucleus in which DNA is housed and which lack many of the organelles found in more advanced cells. The kingdom of Monera or Prokaryotae is composed of single-celled prokaryotes. (Compare eukaryotes.)

Note: It is thought that prokaryotes were the first cells to appear on Earth.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for prokaryotes

Difficulty index for prokaryote

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for prokaryotes

Scrabble Words With Friends