[ spawr, spohr ]
/ spɔr, spoʊr /
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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, spor·ing.
to bear or produce spores.
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Origin of spore

1830–40; <New Latin spora<Greek sporá sowing, seed, akin to speírein to sow; see sperm1


sporal, adjectivesporoid, adjectivein·ter·spor·al, adjective

Other definitions for spore (2 of 2)


variant of sporo-, as final element of compound words: teliospore.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -spore mean?

The combining form -spore is used like a suffix meaning “spore.”  It is often used in scientific terms, especially in biology.

The form -spore ultimately comes from the Greek sporá, meaning “sowing” and “seed.” Sporadic, meaning “occasional,” comes from the related Greek adjective sporadikós. Find out what sporadic has to do with seeds at our entry.

What are variants of –spore?

When used at the beginning of a word, as a prefix, -spore becomes spor-, spori-, or sporo-, as in sporocyst. A variant suffix used to create adjectives from nouns is sporous, as in acrosporous, from acrospore.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use articles for spor-, spori-, sporo-, and -sporous.

Examples of -spore

One example of a term from biology that features the combining form -spore is microspore, “the smaller of the two kinds of spores characteristically produced by seed plants and some fern allies.” It can also refer to “a pollen grain.”

The micro- portion of the word may look familiar; it means “small,” from Greek mīkrós. As we have seen, -spore means “spore” or “seed.” Microspore literally translates to “small spore” or “small seed.”

What are some words that use the combining form –spore?

What are some other forms that -spore may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form mega- means “large.” With this in mind, what is a megaspore?

How to use spore in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for spore

/ (spɔː) /

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
(intr) to produce, carry, or release spores

Word Origin for spore

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

Medical definitions for spore

[ spôr ]

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

Other words from spore

spo•raceous (spə-rāshəs, spô-) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for spore

[ spôr ]

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.
See more at alternation of generations.
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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for spore


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.