[ myoo-tuh-juh n, -jen ]
/ ˈmyu tə dʒən, -ˌdʒɛn /


a substance or preparation capable of inducing mutation.


Nearby words

  1. mut dash,
  2. mut.,
  3. mutable,
  4. mutable sign,
  5. mutacism,
  6. mutagenesis,
  7. mutagenetic,
  8. mutagenic,
  9. mutagenize,
  10. mutant

Origin of mutagen

First recorded in 1945–50; muta(tion) + -gen Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for mutagen


/ (ˈmjuːtədʒən) /


a substance or agent that can induce genetic mutation
Derived Formsmutagenic (ˌmjuːtəˈdʒɛnɪk), adjectivemutagenicity, noun

Word Origin for mutagen

C20: from mutation + -gen

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 mutagen



1946, from mutation + -gen "thing that produces." Related: Mutagenic; mutagenesis; mutagenize.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for mutagen


[ myōōtə-jən, -jĕn′ ]


An agent, such as ultraviolet light or a radioactive element, that can induce or increase the frequency of mutation in an organism.
Related formsmu′ta•genic′ta•geni•cal•ly′ta•ge•nici•ty (-jə-nĭsĭ-tē) n.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for mutagen


[ (myooh-tuh-juhn, myooh-tuh-jen) ]

Something that causes mutations in living things. Mutagens include chemicals, such as drugs or toxins, and radiation.

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.