[ het-uh-roh ]

  1. Chemistry. of or relating to an atom other than carbon, particularly in a cyclic compound.

  2. Informal. heterosexual.

noun,plural het·er·os.
  1. Informal. a heterosexual person.

Origin of hetero

1930–35 for def. 2; (in def. 1) by shortening of heteroatom; (in def. 2) by shortening of heterosexual; see -o

Other definitions for hetero- (2 of 2)


  1. a combining form meaning “different,” “other,” used in the formation of compound words: heterocyclic.

Origin of hetero-

Combining form of Greek héteros the other of two, other, different
  • Also especially before a vowel, heter-.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use hetero in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hetero (1 of 2)


/ (ˈhɛtərəʊ) informal /

noun, adjectiveplural -os
  1. short for heterosexual

British Dictionary definitions for hetero- (2 of 2)


combining form
  1. other, another, or different: heterodyne; heterophony; heterosexual Compare homo-

Origin of hetero-

from Greek heteros other

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 hetero-


  1. A prefix that means “different” or “other,” as in heterophyllous, having different kinds of leaves.

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