pertaining to or in the state of an embryo.
rudimentary; undeveloped.

Also em·bry·o·nal [em-bree-uh-nl, em-bree-ohn-l] /ˈɛm bri ə nl, ˌɛm briˈoʊn l/.

Origin of embryonic

1840–50; embryon- (see embryo) + -ic
Related formsem·bry·on·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·em·bry·o·nal, adjectivenon·em·bry·on·ic, adjectivenon·em·bry·on·i·cal·ly, adverbpseu·do·em·bry·on·ic, adjectiveun·em·bry·o·nal, adjectiveun·em·bry·on·ic, adjective

Synonyms for embryonic

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for embryonic

Contemporary Examples of embryonic

Historical Examples of embryonic

  • The caterpillar and the chrysalis belong to the embryonic period.

  • As the subject for observation he chose the blood of embryonic mice.

  • It signifies springing into being or life from an embryonic condition.

  • It is an embryonic form, and therefore inferior in rank to the Tau moth.

    Our Common Insects

    Alpheus Spring Packard

  • The embryonic human being has been steadily increasing in size, meanwhile.


    Henry Stanton

British Dictionary definitions for embryonic


embryonal (ˈɛmbrɪənəl)


of or relating to an embryo
in an early stage; rudimentary; undeveloped
Derived Formsembryonically, 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 embryonic

1849, from medical Latin embryonem (see embryo) + -ic. Figurative use is from 1856.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

embryonic in Medicine




Of, relating to, or being an embryo.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

embryonic in Science



An animal in its earliest stage of development, before all the major body structures are represented. In humans, the embryonic stage lasts through the first eight weeks of pregnancy. In humans, other placental mammals, and other viviparous animals, young born as embryos cannot thrive. In marsupials, the young are born during the embryonic stage and complete their development outside the uterus, attached to a teat within the mother's pouch.
The developing young of an egg-laying animal before hatching.
The sporophyte of a plant in its earliest stages of development, such as the miniature, partially developed plant contained within a seed before germination.
Related formsembryonic adjective (ĕm′brē-ŏnĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.