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[spawr, spohr] /spɔr, spoʊr/
Biology. a walled, single- to many-celled, reproductive body of an organism, capable of giving rise to a new individual either directly or indirectly.
a germ, germ cell, seed, or the like.
verb (used without object), spored, sporing.
to bear or produce spores.
Origin of spore
1830-40; < New Latin spora < Greek sporá sowing, seed, akin to speírein to sow; see sperm1
Related forms
sporal, adjective
sporoid, adjective
intersporal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for spores


a reproductive body, produced by bacteria, fungi, various plants, and some protozoans, that develops into a new individual. A sexual spore is formed after the fusion of gametes and an asexual spore is the result of asexual reproduction
a germ cell, seed, dormant bacterium, or similar body
(intransitive) to produce, carry, or release spores
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin spora, from Greek: a sowing; related to Greek speirein to sow
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 spores



1836, from Modern Latin spora, from Greek spora "seed, a sowing," related to sporos "sowing," and speirein "to sow," from PIE *sper- "to strew" (see sprout (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spores in Medicine

spore (spôr)

  1. A small, usually single-celled asexual or sexual reproductive body that is highly resistant to desiccation and heat and is capable of growing into a new organism, produced especially by certain bacteria, fungi, algae, and nonflowering plants.

  2. A dormant, nonreproductive body formed by certain bacteria in response to adverse environmental conditions.

spo·ra'ceous (spə-rā'shəs, spô-) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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spores in Science
  1. A usually one-celled reproductive body that can grow into a new organism without uniting with another cell. Spores are haploid (having only a single set of chromosomes). Fungi, algae, seedless plants, and certain protozoans reproduce asexually by spores. Plant spores that are dispersed by the wind have walls containing sporopollenin.

  2. See more at alternation of generations.

  3. A similar one-celled body in seed-bearing plants; the macrospore or microspore. The macrospore of seed-bearing plants develops into a female gametophyte or megagametophyte, which is contained within the ovule and eventually produces the egg cells. (The megagametophyte is also called the embryo sac in angiosperms.) The microspore of seed-bearing plants develops into the male microgametophyte or pollen grain. See endospore.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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spores in Culture

spore definition

A reproductive cell or group of cells, produced by some plants, that is capable of developing into an adult plant without combining with another reproductive cell. Plants also produce sperm cells. The spores of nonflowering plants are analogous to the seeds of flowering plants. (See asexual reproduction; compare sexual reproduction.) Fungi and algae typically reproduce by means of spores that are carried by the wind or some other agency to a new location for growth.

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