chromosome

[kroh-muh-sohm]
See more synonyms for chromosome on Thesaurus.com
noun Genetics.
  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 female and male sex chromosomes respectively.

Origin of chromosome

First recorded in 1885–90; chromo- + -some3
Related formschro·mo·so·mal, adjectivechro·mo·so·mal·ly, adverbin·ter·chro·mo·so·mal, adjectivein·ter·chro·mo·so·mal·ly, adverbnon·chro·mo·so·mal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for chromosomes

heredity, RNA, gene, chromosome

Examples from the Web for chromosomes

Contemporary Examples of chromosomes

Historical Examples of chromosomes


British Dictionary definitions for chromosomes

chromosome

noun
  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 characteristicsSee also homologous chromosomes
Derived Formschromosomal, adjectivechromosomally, 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

Word Origin and History for chromosomes

chromosome

n.

1889, from German Chromosom, coined 1888 by German anatomist Wilhelm von Waldeyer-Hartz (1836-1921), from Latinized form of Greek khroma "color" (see chroma) + -some (3)). So called because the structures contain a substance that stains readily with basic dyes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

chromosomes in Medicine

chromosome

[krōmə-sōm′]
n.
  1. A threadlike linear strand of DNA and associated proteins in the nucleus of animal and plant cells that carries the genes and functions in the transmission of hereditary information.
  2. A circular strand of DNA in bacteria and cyanobacteria that contains the hereditary information necessary for cell life.
Related formschro′mo•somal (-sōməl) null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

chromosomes in Science

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.

chromosomes in Culture

chromosomes

[(kroh-muh-sohmz)]

The small bodies in the nucleus of a cell that carry the chemical “instructions” for reproduction of the cell. They consist of strands of DNA wrapped in a double helix around a core of proteins. Each species of plant or animal has a characteristic number of chromosomes. For human beings, for example, it is forty-six.

Note

In humans, sex is determined by two chromosomes: an X-chromosome, which is female, and a Y-chromosome, which is male. (See sex chromosomes.)
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.