[ yoo-kar-ee-oht, -ee-uht ]
/ yuˈkær iˌoʊt, -i ət /
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noun Biology.
any organism of the proposed domain Eukaryota, having as its fundamental structural unit a cell type that contains specialized organelles in the cytoplasm, a membrane-bound nucleus enclosing genetic material organized into chromosomes, and an elaborate system of division by mitosis or meiosis, characteristic of all life forms except bacteria, blue-green algae, and other primitive microorganisms.
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Sometimes eu·car·y·ote .
Compare prokaryote. See also domain (def. 6).

Origin of eukaryote

First recorded in 1960–65; see origin at Eukaryota


eu·kar·y·ot·ic, eu·car·y·ot·ic [yoo-kar-ee-ot-ik], /yuˌkær iˈɒt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use eukaryote in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for eukaryote



/ (juːˈkærɪˌɒt) /

any member of the Eukarya, a domain of organisms having cells each with a distinct nucleus within which the genetic material is contained. Eukaryotes include protoctists, fungi, plants, and animalsCompare prokaryote

Derived forms of eukaryote

eukaryotic or eucaryotic (ˌjuːkærɪˈɒtɪk), adjective

Word Origin for eukaryote

from eu- + karyo- + -ote as in zygote
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

Medical definitions for eukaryote


A single-celled or multicellular organism whose cells contain a distinct membrane-bound nucleus.

Other words from eukaryote

eu•kar′y•otic (-ŏtĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for eukaryote

[ yōō-kărē-ōt ]

An organism whose cells contain a nucleus surrounded by a membrane and whose DNA is bound together by proteins (histones) into chromosomes. The cells of eukaryotes also contain an endoplasmic reticulum and numerous specialized organelles not present in prokaryotes, especially mitochondria, Golgi bodies, and lysosomes. The organelles are enclosed in a three-part membrane (called a unit membrane) consisting of a lipid layer sandwiched between two protein layers. All organisms except for bacteria and archaea are eukaryotes. Compare prokaryote.

Other words from eukaryote

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

Cultural definitions for eukaryote

[ (yooh-kar-ee-oht) ]

An organism whose cells contain a nucleus. All multicelled organisms are eukaryotes, as is one superkingdom of single-celled organisms. Eukaryotes also have organelles enclosed by membranes. (Compare prokaryote.)

notes for eukaryote

Eukaryotes evolved in a process in which one early prokaryote consumed another, forming a more complex structure.

notes for eukaryote

The word eukaryote comes from the Greek for “true nucleus.”
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.