noun, plural an·la·gen [ahn-lah-guh n] /ˈɑn lɑ gən/, an·la·ges. (sometimes initial capital letter)
  1. Embryology. an embryonic area capable of forming a structure: the primordium, germ, or bud.
  2. Psychology. an inherited predisposition to certain traits or to a particular character development.

Origin of anlage

1890–95; < German Anlage foundation, basis, as noun derivative of anlegen to lay on or out, apply, equivalent to an- on + legen to lay1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of anlage

British Dictionary definitions for anlage


noun plural -gen (-ɡən) or -ges
  1. another word for primordium

Word Origin for anlage

German: predisposition, layout
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 anlage

"basis of a later development" (plural anlagen), 1892, from German anlage "foundation, basis," from anlagen (v.) "to establish," from an "on" + legen "to lay" (see lay (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

anlage in Medicine


n. pl. an•la•ges
  1. The initial clustering of embryonic cells from which a part or an organ develops; primordium.
  2. A genetic predisposition to a given trait or personality characteristic.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.