[ klohn ]
See synonyms for clone on
  1. Biology.

    • a cell, cell product, or organism that is genetically identical to the unit or individual from which it was derived.

    • a population of identical units, cells, or individuals that derive from the same ancestral line.

  2. a person or thing that duplicates, imitates, or closely resembles another in appearance, function, performance, or style: All the fashion models seemed to be clones of one another.Several manufacturers made off-brand clones of the popular game console.

verb (used with object),cloned, clon·ing.
  1. to produce a copy or imitation of.

  2. to copy identifying information from (a mobile device, credit card, security badge, etc.), usually for the purpose of identity theft or unauthorized security access: They cloned my key card and used the copy to steal all the valuables from my hotel room.

  1. Biology.

    • to cause to grow as a clone.

    • to separate (a batch of cells or cell products) so that each portion produces only its own kind.

verb (used without object),cloned, clon·ing.
  1. Biology. to grow as a clone.

Origin of clone

First recorded in 1900–05; from Greek klṓn “a slip, twig”

Other words from clone

  • clonal, adjective
  • clon·al·ly, adverb
  • cloner, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for clone


/ (kləʊn) /

  1. a group of organisms or cells of the same genetic constitution that are descended from a common ancestor by asexual reproduction, as by cuttings, grafting, etc, in plants

  2. Also called: gene clone a segment of DNA that has been isolated and replicated by laboratory manipulation: used to analyse genes and manufacture their products (proteins)

  1. informal a person or thing bearing a very close resemblance to another person or thing

  2. slang

    • a mobile phone that has been given the electronic identity of an existing mobile phone, so that calls made on the second phone are charged to the owner of the first phone

    • any similar object or device, such as a credit card, that has been given the electronic identity of another device usually in order to commit theft

  1. to produce or cause to produce a clone

  2. informal to produce near copies (of a person or thing)

  1. (tr) slang to give (a mobile phone, etc) the electronic identity of an existing mobile phone (or other device), so that calls, purchases, etc made with the second device are charged to the owner of the first device

Origin of clone

C20: from Greek klōn twig, shoot; related to klan to break

Derived forms of clone

  • clonal, adjective
  • clonally, 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 clone


[ klōn ]

  1. A cell, group of cells, or organism that is produced asexually from and is genetically identical to a single ancestor. The cells of an individual plant or animal, except for gametes and some cells of the immune system, are clones because they all descend from a single fertilized cell and are genetically identical. A clone may be produced by fission, in the case of single-celled organisms, by budding, as in the hydra, or in the laboratory by putting the nucleus of a diploid cell into an egg that has had its nucleus removed. Some plants can produce clones from horizontal stems, such as runners. Clones of other cells and some plants and animals can also be produced in a laboratory. See also therapeutic cloning.

  2. A copy of a sequence of DNA, as from a gene, that is produced by genetic engineering. The clone is then transplanted into the nucleus of a cell from which genetic material has been removed.

  1. To produce or grow a cell, group of cells, or organism from a single original cell.

  2. To make identical copies of a DNA sequence. See more at genetic engineering.

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

Cultural definitions for clone


A living system that is genetically identical to its ancestor (that is, it has exactly the same DNA molecules). Because each cell contains the DNA molecules that characterize an individual, it is, in principle, possible to replicate, or reproduce, complex living systems in the laboratory.

Notes for clone

The first cloned mammal, a sheep named Dolly, was born in Scotland in 1996. DNA from an adult donor was placed into an egg, which was then implanted in the uterus of another sheep. Since that time, mice, cows, and pigs have been cloned.

Notes for clone

There is a major debate on the ethical aspects (see bioethics) of cloning, especially as applied to human beings. Therapeutic cloning involves the placing of adult DNA in an egg for the express purpose of creating stem cells for medical purposes. Reproductive cloning involves the placement of adult DNA into an egg and the implantation of the egg into a uterus for the purpose of creating a viable fetus.

Notes for clone

Clone is often used informally to indicate a close copy or resemblance: “This new computer is a clone of the IBM model.”

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.