Zoology. the occurrence of two forms distinct in structure, coloration, etc., among animals of the same species.: Compare sexual dimorphism.
Botany. the occurrence of two different forms of flowers, leaves, etc., on the same plant or on different plants of the same species.
Crystallography. the property of some substances of crystallizing in two chemically identical but crystallographically distinct forms.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use dimorphism in a sentence
This hormonal explanation fits well with historical shifts in human sexual size dimorphism.Males Are the Taller Sex. Estrogen, Not Fights for Mates, May Be Why. | Christie Wilcox | June 8, 2020 | Quanta Magazine
It is perhaps owing to this dimorphism that the family is able to show a very large number of natural hybrids.The plant-lore and garden-craft of Shakespeare | Henry Nicholson Ellacombe
Only after serious study of sexual dimorphism in the animal series may one venture a few reflections on feminism.The Natural Philosophy of Love | Remy de Gourmont
Animals having both sexes, do not necessarily show sexual dimorphism.The Natural Philosophy of Love | Remy de Gourmont
The fact of both the forms presenting the same case of dimorphism is very curious.More Letters of Charles Darwin Volume II | Charles Darwin
Gartner found the common primrose and cowslip very difficult to cross, but he knew nothing on dimorphism.More Letters of Charles Darwin Volume II | Charles Darwin
British Dictionary definitions for dimorphism
the occurrence within a plant of two distinct forms of any part, such as the leaves of some aquatic plants
the occurrence in an animal or plant species of two distinct types of individual
a property of certain substances that enables them to exist in two distinct crystalline forms
- dimorphic or dimorphous, adjective
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 dimorphism
The existence of two distinct types of individual within a species, usually differing in one or more characteristics such as coloration, size, and shape. The most familiar type of dimorphism is sexual dimorphism, as in many birds (where the male is often more brightly colored than the female), spiders (where the male is often smaller than the female), horned and tusked mammals (where horns and tusks are often present in the male but not the female), and in some species of deep-sea anglerfish (where the male is reduced to a tiny parasitic form attached for life to the much larger female). Fungi also display dimorphism. For example, the same species may exist as a small, budding yeast under some conditions, but as a mass of long hyphae under others.
The occurrence, among plants, of two different forms of the same basic structure, either on the same plant or among individuals of the same species. The common ivy Hedera helix produces juvenile leaves with prominent lobes under conditions of low light, but adult leaves of more rounded shape under conditions of greater light.
The characteristic of a chemical compound to crystallize in two different forms. Potassium feldspar, for example, can crystallize as either orthoclase (at higher temperatures) or microcline (at lower temperatures).
- dimorphous adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.