[ ey-bahy-oh-jen-uh-sis, ab-ee-oh- ]
/ ˌeɪ baɪ oʊˈdʒɛn ə sɪs, ˌæb i oʊ- /


the now discredited theory that living organisms can arise spontaneously from inanimate matter; spontaneous generation.
the theory that the earliest life forms on earth developed from nonliving matter.Compare biogenesis.

Nearby words

  1. ability grouping,
  2. abimelech,
  3. abingdon,
  4. abington,
  5. abinoam,
  6. abiogenic,
  7. abiological,
  8. abiosis,
  9. abiotic,
  10. abiotic factor

Origin of abiogenesis

a-6 + biogenesis; coined by T. H. Huxley in 1870

Related formsa·bi·o·ge·net·ic [ey-bahy-oh-juh-net-ik, ab-ee-oh-] /ˌeɪ baɪ oʊ dʒəˈnɛt ɪk, ˌæb i oʊ-/, a·bi·o·ge·net·i·cal, adjectivea·bi·o·ge·net·i·cal·ly, adverba·bi·og·e·nist [ey-bahy-oj-uh-nist, ab-ee-] /ˌeɪ baɪˈɒdʒ ə nɪst, ˌæb i-/, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for abiogenesis

British Dictionary definitions for abiogenesis


/ (ˌeɪbaɪəʊˈdʒɛnɪsɪs) /


Also called: autogenesis the hypothetical process by which living organisms first arose on earth from nonliving matter
another name for spontaneous generation Compare biogenesis
Derived Formsabiogenetic, adjectiveabiogenist (ˌeɪbaɪˈɒdʒɪnɪst), noun

Word Origin for abiogenesis

C19: New Latin, from a- 1 + bio- + genesis

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

Science definitions for abiogenesis


[ ā′bī-ō-jĕnĭ-sĭs ]

See spontaneous generation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.