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See more synonyms for heteromorphic on Thesaurus.com
  1. Biology. dissimilar in shape, structure, or magnitude.
  2. Entomology. undergoing complete metamorphosis; possessing varying forms.
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Origin of heteromorphic

First recorded in 1860–65; hetero- + -morphic
Related formshet·er·o·mor·phism, het·er·o·mor·phy, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for heteromorphic

Historical Examples

  • Heteromorphic, het-e-ro-mor′fik, adj. deviating in form from a given type—also Heteromor′phous.

    Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 2 of 4: E-M)


  • Organic development is not like crystallisation; it is heteromorphic crystallisation, so to speak.

    Herbert Spencer

    J. Arthur Thomson

  • I find that the mid-styled (by variation) P. sinensis is more fertile with own pollen, even, than a heteromorphic union!

British Dictionary definitions for heteromorphic



adjective biology
  1. differing from the normal form in size, shape, and function
  2. (of pairs of homologous chromosomes) differing from each other in size or form
  3. (esp of insects) having different forms at different stages of the life cycle
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Derived Formsheteromorphism or heteromorphy, noun
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 heteromorphic


"having different or dissimilar forms," 1864; from hetero- + Greek morphe "form" (see Morpheus).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper