[het-er-uh-jee-nee-uhs, -jeen-yuhs]
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  1. different in kind; unlike; incongruous.
  2. composed of parts of different kinds; having widely dissimilar elements or constituents: The party was attended by a heterogeneous group of artists, politicians, and social climbers.
  3. Chemistry. (of a mixture) composed of different substances or the same substance in different phases, as solid ice and liquid water.

Origin of heterogeneous

1615–25; < Medieval Latin heterogeneus < Greek heterogenḗs. See hetero-, gene, -ous
Related formshet·er·o·ge·ne·ous·ly, adverbhet·er·o·ge·ne·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedheterogeneous heterogenous homogeneous homogenous

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Antonyms for heterogeneous

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for heterogeneous


  1. composed of unrelated or differing parts or elements
  2. not of the same kind or type
  3. chem of, composed of, or concerned with two or more different phasesCompare homogeneous
Derived Formsheterogeneity (ˌhɛtərəʊdʒɪˈniːɪtɪ) or heterogeneousness, nounheterogeneously, adverb

Word Origin for heterogeneous

C17: from Medieval Latin heterogeneus, from Greek heterogenēs, from hetero- + genos sort
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 heterogeneous

1620s, from Medieval Latin heterogeneus, from Greek heterogenes, from heteros "different" (see hetero-) + genos "kind, gender, race stock" (see genus). Earlier in same sense was heterogeneal (c.1600).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

heterogeneous in Medicine


[hĕt′ər-ə-jēnē-əs, -jēnyəs]
  1. Composed of parts having dissimilar characteristics or properties.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.