[ kroh-muh-sohm ]
See synonyms for chromosome on
  1. any of several threadlike bodies, consisting of chromatin, that carry the genes in a linear order: the human species has 23 pairs, designated 1 to 22 in order of decreasing size and X and Y for the sex-determining chromosomes.: See also X chromosome, Y chromosome.

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Origin of chromosome

First recorded in 1885–90; chromo- + -some3

Other words from chromosome

  • chro·mo·so·mal [kroh-muh-soh-muhl], /ˌkroʊ məˈsoʊ məl/, adjective
  • chro·mo·so·mal·ly, adverb
  • in·ter·chro·mo·so·mal, adjective
  • in·ter·chro·mo·so·mal·ly, adverb
  • non·chro·mo·so·mal, adjective

Words Nearby chromosome Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use chromosome in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for chromosome


/ (ˈkrəʊməˌsəʊm) /

  1. any of the microscopic rod-shaped structures that appear in a cell nucleus during cell division, consisting of nucleoprotein arranged into units (genes) that are responsible for the transmission of hereditary characteristics: See also homologous chromosomes

Derived forms of chromosome

  • chromosomal, adjective
  • chromosomally, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for chromosome


[ krōmə-sōm′ ]

  1. A structure in all living cells that consists of a single molecule of DNA bonded to various proteins and that carries the genes determining heredity. In all eukaryotic cells, the chromosomes occur as threadlike strands in the nucleus. During cell reproduction, these strands coil up and condense into much thicker structures that are easily viewed under a microscope. Chromosomes occur in pairs in all of the cells of eukaryotes except the reproductive cells, which have one of each chromosome, and some red blood cells (such as those of mammals) that expel their nuclei. In bacterial cells and other prokaryotes, which have no nucleus, the chromosome is a circular strand of DNA located in the cytoplasm.

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