[kon-juh-gey-shuh n]
See more synonyms for conjugation on
  1. Grammar.
    1. the inflection of verbs.
    2. the whole set of inflected forms of a verb or the recital or display thereof in a fixed order: The conjugation of the Latin verb amo begins amō, amas, amat.
    3. a class of verbs having similar sets of inflected forms: the Latin second conjugation.
  2. an act of joining: a conjugation of related ideas.
  3. the state of being joined together; union; conjunction.
  4. Biology.
    1. the reproductive process in ciliate protozoans in which two organisms of different mating types exchange nuclear material through a temporary area of fusion.
    2. temporary union or permanent fusion as a form of sexual reproduction in certain algae and fungi, the male gametes of one organism uniting with female gametes of the other.
    3. a temporary union of two bacteria, in Escherichia and related groups, in which genetic material is transferred by migration of a plasmid, either solitary or as part of a chromosome, from one bacterium, the donor, to the other, the recipient; sometimes also including the transfer of resistance to antibiotics.

Origin of conjugation

1400–50; late Middle English conjugacion (< Anglo-French) < Late Latin conjugātiōn- (stem of conjugātiō), equivalent to conjugāt(us) (see conjugate) + -iōn- -ion
Related formscon·ju·ga·tion·al, adjectivecon·ju·ga·tion·al·ly, adverbnon·con·ju·ga·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for conjugation

union, fusion, unification, amalgamation, unity

Examples from the Web for conjugation

Historical Examples of conjugation

British Dictionary definitions for conjugation


  1. grammar
    1. inflection of a verb for person, number, tense, voice, mood, etc
    2. the complete set of the inflections of a given verb
  2. a joining, union, or conjunction
  3. a type of sexual reproduction in ciliate protozoans involving the temporary union of two individuals and the subsequent migration and fusion of the gametic nuclei
  4. (in bacteria) the direct transfer of DNA between two cells that are temporarily joined
  5. the union of gametes, esp isogametes, as in some algae and fungi
  6. the pairing of chromosomes in the early phase of a meiotic division
  7. chem the existence of alternating double or triple bonds in a chemical compound, with consequent electron delocalization over part of the molecule
Derived Formsconjugational, adjectiveconjugationally, 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 conjugation

mid-15c., from Latin conjugationem (nominative conjugatio) "a combining, connecting," noun of action from conjugare "to join together" (see conjugal). Grammatical sense is 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

conjugation in Medicine


  1. The temporary union of two bacterial cells during which one cell transfers part or all of its genome to the other.
  2. A process of sexual reproduction in which ciliate protozoans of the same species temporarily couple and exchange genetic material.
  3. A process of sexual reproduction in certain algae and fungi in which temporary or permanent fusion occurs, resulting in the union of the male and female gametes.
  4. The addition of glucuronic or sulfuric acid to certain toxic substances to terminate their biological activity and prepare them for excretion.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

conjugation in Science


  1. A type of sexual reproduction in single-celled organisms, such as bacteria and some algae and fungi, in which two organisms or cells from the same species join together to exchange genetic material before undergoing cell division.
  2. The fusion of two gametes to form a zygote, as in some algae and fungi.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.