• synonyms


[oh-vuh m]
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noun, plural o·va [oh-vuh] /ˈoʊ və/.
  1. Cell Biology.
    1. the female reproductive cell or gamete of animals, which is capable of developing, usually only after fertilization, into a new individual.
    2. the female reproductive cell or gamete of plants.
  2. Architecture. an oval ornament, as in an egg-and-dart molding.
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Origin of ovum

1700–10; < Latin ōvum egg1; cognate with Greek ōión
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for ovum

seed, egg, gamete, spore, oosphere

Examples from the Web for ovum

Historical Examples of ovum

  • One is an ovum, and these are the principle the mother gives to the future child.

    Almost A Man

    Mary Wood-Allen

  • And as the rose springs from the seed, so the horse develops from the ovum.

    The Heart of Nature

    Francis Younghusband

  • When the twins come from one ovum the condition is not so simple.

  • The cervix is then more or less dilated and the ovum is palpable.

  • Ovum, shows the process of development in all its stages, 43, 44.

British Dictionary definitions for ovum


noun plural ova (ˈəʊvə)
  1. an unfertilized female gamete; egg cell
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Word Origin for ovum

from Latin: egg
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 ovum


(plural ova), 1706, from Latin ovum "egg," cognate with Greek oon, Old Norse egg, Old English æg, all perhaps from PIE root *awi- (see egg (n.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ovum in Medicine


n. pl. o•va (ō)
  1. The female reproductive cell or gamete; egg.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

ovum in Science


Plural ova
  1. The mature reproductive cell of female animals, produced in the ovaries. See more at egg.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.