[ hoh-mee-uh-stey-sis ]
See synonyms for homeostasis on Thesaurus.com
  1. the tendency of a system, especially the physiological system of higher animals, to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated response of its parts to any situation or stimulus that would tend to disturb its normal condition or function.: Compare allostasis.

  2. Psychology. a state of psychological equilibrium obtained when tension or a drive has been reduced or eliminated.

  1. Entomology. the ability of members of a colony of social insects to behave cooperatively to produce a desired result, as when bees coordinate the fanning of their wings to cool the hive.

Origin of homeostasis

First recorded in 1925–30; homeo- + stasis

word story For homeostasis

Homeostasis is a technical term used in biology, physiology, and psychology, meaning “the tendency of an organism to maintain internal stability, or the tendency of a group of organisms, such as social insects like bees or ants, to act cooperatively.” Homeostasis is composed of the Greek combining form homoio- “like, similar, resembling” (from the adjective hómoios ) and stásis, a verbal noun meaning “standing, standing still, position, political opinion or party,” (from the verb histánai “to stand, to make stand, set up.”)
Greek has many compounds formed with homoio-, especially technical terms in rhetoric ( homoitéleutos “having similar endings or codas in phrases or verses"), biology ( homoiótropos “of animals, displaying similar behavior"), and physics ( homoiotachḗs “moving with equal velocity”).
Hómoios is a derivative of the adjective homós “the same, one and the same,” from Proto-Indo-European somós, source of Germanic samaz, which becomes Old Norse samr, adopted into English as same. Sanskrit has the adjective samá- “the same, similar”; Slavic (Polish) has sam “the same.”
Stásis forms many compound nouns in Greek, such as stasíarchos “(political or factional) party leader,” xenóstasis “inn for strangers,” and anástasis “standing up, removal, expulsion,” also meaning “resurrection” once each in Aeschylus’s Eumenides and in the New Testament's Epistle to the Hebrews. Anástasis forms the Greek proper names Anastásios (masculine) and Anastasía (in Late Latin Anastasius and Anastasia ).

Other words from homeostasis

  • ho·me·o·stat·ic [hoh-mee-uh-stat-ik], /ˌhoʊ mi əˈstæt ɪk/, adjective
  • ho·me·o·stat·i·cal·ly, adverb

Words Nearby homeostasis

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use homeostasis in a sentence

  • With the whole thing being stirred up constantly by continual homeostasis correction.

    The K-Factor | Harry Harrison (AKA Henry Maxwell Dempsey)
  • homeostasis: the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements of the human body.

British Dictionary definitions for homeostasis



/ (ˌhəʊmɪəʊˈsteɪsɪs) /

  1. the maintenance of metabolic equilibrium within an animal by a tendency to compensate for disrupting changes

  2. the maintenance of equilibrium within a social group, person, etc

Derived forms of homeostasis

  • homeostatic or homoeostatic (ˌhəʊmɪəʊˈstætɪk), 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 homeostasis


[ hō′mē-ō-stāsĭs ]

  1. The tendency of an organism or cell to regulate its internal conditions, such as the chemical composition of its body fluids, so as to maintain health and functioning, regardless of outside conditions. The organism or cell maintains homeostasis by monitoring its internal conditions and responding appropriately when these conditions deviate from their optimal state. The maintenance of a steady body temperature in warm-blooded animals is an example of homeostasis. In human beings, the homeostatic regulation of body temperature involves such mechanisms as sweating when the internal temperature becomes excessive and shivering to produce heat, as well as the generation of heat through metabolic processes when the internal temperature falls too low.

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

Cultural definitions for homeostasis


[ (hoh-mee-oh-stay-sis) ]

The tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance or equilibrium within its internal environment, even when faced with external changes. A simple example of homeostasis is the body's ability to maintain an internal temperature around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (see also Fahrenheit), whatever the temperature outside.

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.