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See more synonyms for mitosis on Thesaurus.com
noun Cell Biology.
  1. the usual method of cell division, characterized typically by the resolving of the chromatin of the nucleus into a threadlike form, which condenses into chromosomes, each of which separates longitudinally into two parts, one part of each chromosome being retained in each of two new cells resulting from the original cell.
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Compare meiosis.

Origin of mitosis

1885–90; < Greek mít(os) a thread + -osis
Related formsmi·tot·ic [mahy-tot-ik] /maɪˈtɒt ɪk/, adjectivemi·tot·i·cal·ly, adverbin·ter·mi·tot·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for mitosis

amitosis, meiosis, mitosis

Examples from the Web for mitosis

Historical Examples of mitosis

  • The mitosis was definitely decreasing the last time I checked you.

    The Star Lord

    Boyd Ellanby

  • Figures 99 and 100 are equatorial plates of the first mitosis.

    Studies in Spermatogenesis

    Nettie Maria Stevens

  • Diploid (2n) chromosome numbers were determined from cells in late prophase and metaphase of mitosis.

  • An early anaphase of this mitosis is shown in figure 19; here the small chromosome is already divided.

    Studies in Spermatogenesis

    Nettie Maria Stevens

  • As the chromatin begins to condense for the second mitosis, disintegration of the element x becomes apparent.

British Dictionary definitions for mitosis


  1. a method of cell division, in which the nucleus divides into daughter nuclei, each containing the same number of chromosomes as the parent nucleusCompare prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase, meiosis (def. 1)
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Derived Formsmitotic (maɪˈtɒtɪk, mɪ-), adjectivemitotically, adverb

Word Origin for mitosis

C19: from New Latin, from Greek mitos thread
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 mitosis


1887, coined in German from Greek mitos "warp thread" (see mitre) + Modern Latin -osis "act, process." Term introduced by German anatomist Walther Fleming (1843-1905) in 1882. So called because chromatin of the cell nucleus appears as long threads in the first stages.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mitosis in Medicine


n. pl. mi•to•ses (-sēz)
  1. The process in cell division by which the nucleus divides, typically in four stages (prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase) resulting in two new nuclei, each of which has exactly the same chromosome and DNA content as the original cell.indirect nuclear division karyokinesis mitotic division
  2. The entire process of cell division including division of the nucleus and the cytoplasm.
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Related formsmi•totic (-tŏtĭk) adj.mi•toti•cal•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

mitosis in Science


  1. The process in cell division in eukaryotes in which the nucleus divides to produce two new nuclei, each having the same number and type of chromosomes as the original. Prior to mitosis, each chromosome is replicated to form two identical strands (called chromatids). As mitosis begins, the chromosomes line up along the center of the cell by attaching to the fibers of the cell spindle. The pairs of chromatids then separate, each strand of a pair moving to an opposite end of the cell. When a new membrane forms around each of the two groups of chromosomes, division of the nucleus is complete. The four main phases of mitosis are prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase. Compare meiosis.
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A Closer Look: Mitosis is the process by which the nucleus divides in eukaryotic organisms, producing two new nuclei that are genetically identical to the nucleus of the parent cell. diamf3 It occurs in cell division carried on by human somatic cells-the cells used for the maintenance and growth of the body. These cells have two paired sets of 23 chromosomes, or 46 chromosomes in total. (Cells with two sets of chromosomes are called diploid.) Before cell division occurs, the genetic material in each chromosome is duplicated as part of the normal functioning of the cell. Each chromosome then consists of two chromatids, identical strands of DNA. When a cell undergoes mitosis, the chromosomes condense into 46 compact bodies. The chromatids then separate, and one chromatid from each of the 46 chromosomes moves to each side of the cell as it prepares to divide. The chromatids form the chromosomes of the daughter cells, so that each new cell has 46 chromosomes, (two complete sets of 23) just like the parent cell. While both mitosis and meiosis refer properly to types of nuclear division, they are often used as shorthand to refer to the entire processes of cell division themselves. When mitosis and meiosis are used to refer specifically to nuclear division, they are often contrasted with cytokinesis, the division of the cytoplasm.
Related formsmitotic adjective (mī-tŏtĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

mitosis in Culture



Division of a single cell into two identical “daughter” cells. Each daughter cell has an identical number of chromosomes as the parent cell. Mitosis begins when the DNA in the parent cell replicates itself; it ends with two cells having the same genes (see genetics). Most cells in the human body, and all single-celled organisms, reproduce through mitosis. (Compare meiosis.)

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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.