- any of various one-celled organisms, classified in the kingdom Protista, that are either free-living or aggregated into simple colonies and that have diverse reproductive and nutritional modes, including the protozoans, eukaryotic algae, and slime molds: some classification schemes also include the fungi and the more primitive bacteria and blue-green algae or may distribute the organisms between the kingdoms Plantae and Animalia according to dominant characteristics.
Origin of protist
1885–90; < New Latin Protista (neuter plural) name of the kingdom < Greek prṓtistos (masculine singular) the very first, superlative of prôtos first; see proto-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- (in some classification systems) any organism belonging to the kingdom Protista, originally including bacteria, protozoans, algae, and fungi, regarded as distinct from plants and animals. It was later restricted to protozoans, unicellular algae, and simple fungiSee also protoctist
C19: from New Latin Protista most primitive organisms, from Greek prōtistos the very first, from prōtos first
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 protistans
1869, from Modern Latin Protista (German Protisten, Haeckel, 1868), from Greek neuter plural of protistos "the very first," superlative of protos "first" (see proto-).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A unicellular, eukaroytic organism belonging to the former taxonomic kingdom Protista.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Any of a large variety of usually one-celled organisms belonging to the kingdom Protista (or Protoctista). Protists are eukaryotes and live in water or in watery tissues of organisms. Some protists resemble plants in that they produce their own food by photosynthesis, while others resemble animals in consuming organic matter for food. Protist cells are often structurally much more elaborate than the cells of multicellular plants and animals. Protists include the protozoans, most algae, diatoms, oomycetes, and the slime molds. Also called protoctist See Table at taxonomy.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.