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[zahy-goht, zig-oht] /ˈzaɪ goʊt, ˈzɪg oʊt/
noun, Biology.
the cell produced by the union of two gametes, before it undergoes cleavage.
Origin of zygote
1885-90; < Greek zygōtós yoked, equivalent to zygō-, variant stem of zygoûn to yoke, join together (derivative of zygón yoke1) + -tos adj. suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for zygote
Historical Examples
  • If this is true, the centrosome of the zygote nucleus must be entirely derived from that of the male pronucleus.

  • From such a cell (zygote), half male, half female, the body of every living organism has sprung.

    Feminism and Sex-Extinction Arabella Kenealy
  • But if the basis is not there, no amount of education can transform that zygote into a mathematician.

    Mendelism Reginald Crundall Punnett
  • The first change the zygote undergoes in all animals is what is generally called the segmentation or cleavage of the ovum.

  • The resulting coupled cell or zygote divides into two, which again encyst.

  • But when the zygote in its turn comes to form gametes, the partnership is broken and the process is reversed.

    Mendelism Reginald Crundall Punnett
  • IX, X, show the formation of the zygote by fusion of the nuclei of the gametes.

  • But the problem of the way in which characters are distributed from gamete to zygote and from zygote to gamete remained as before.

    Mendelism Reginald Crundall Punnett
  • All these things are but the transfer from zygote to zygote of something extrinsic to the species.

    Mendelism Reginald Crundall Punnett
  • If the mathematical faculty has been carried in by the gamete, the education of the zygote will enable him to make the most of it.

    Mendelism Reginald Crundall Punnett
British Dictionary definitions for zygote


/ˈzaɪɡəʊt; ˈzɪɡ-/
the cell resulting from the union of an ovum and a spermatozoon
the organism that develops from such a cell
Derived Forms
zygotic (zaɪˈɡɒtɪk; zɪ-) adjective
zygotically, adverb
Word Origin
C19: from Greek zugōtos yoked, from zugoun to yoke
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 zygote

1880, coined 1878 by German cytologist Eduard Strasburger (1844-1912), the widespread attribution to William Bateson being apparently erroneous; from Greek zygotos "yoked," from zygon "yoke" (see jugular).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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zygote in Medicine

zygote zy·gote (zī'gōt')

  1. The cell formed by the union of two gametes, especially a fertilized ovum before cleavage.

  2. The organism that develops from a zygote.

zy·got'ic (-gŏt'ĭk) 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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zygote in Science
The cell formed by the union of the nuclei of two reproductive cells (gametes), especially a fertilized egg cell.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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zygote in Culture
zygote [(zeye-goht)]

The single cell that results from fertilization of an ovum by a sperm. After dividing several times, it implants in the uterus. It continues to divide, producing more cells and passing through the stages of embryo and fetus.

The American Heritage® 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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