[ yoo-kar-ee-oht, -ee-uht ]

  1. any organism of the 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 and other primitive microorganisms.

Origin of eukaryote

First recorded in 1960–65; see origin at Eukaryota
  • Sometimes eu·car·y·ote .

Other words from eukaryote

  • eu·kar·y·ot·ic, eu·car·y·ot·ic [yoo-kar-ee-ot-ik], /yuˌkær iˈɒt ɪk/, adjective

Words Nearby eukaryote Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use eukaryote in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for eukaryote



/ (juːˈkærɪˌɒt) /

  1. 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 animals: Compare prokaryote

Origin of eukaryote

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

Derived forms of eukaryote

  • eukaryotic or eucaryotic (ˌjuːkærɪˈɒtɪk), 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 eukaryote


[ yōō-kărē-ōt ]

  1. 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.