• synonyms


noun Biology.
  1. development of an egg without fertilization.
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Origin of parthenogenesis

First recorded in 1840–50; partheno- + genesis
Related formspar·the·no·ge·net·ic [pahr-thuh-noh-juh-net-ik] /ˌpɑr θə noʊ dʒəˈnɛt ɪk/, adjectivepar·the·no·ge·net·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for parthenogenesis

Historical Examples

  • I have dealt with the physiology of parthenogenesis in the seventeenth chapter of the Riddle.

    The Wonders of Life

    Ernst Haeckel

  • He says parthenogenesis in higher lifeforms is virtually impossible.

    Breeder Reaction

    Winston Marks

  • Sex-generation is the mark of a higher organism than parthenogenesis.

  • Of the union of the two sexes, females alone are born; parthenogenesis gives birth at the same time to females and males.

  • Parthenogenesis is no longer wonderful; in fact, the wonder is that it should not oftener occur.

British Dictionary definitions for parthenogenesis


  1. a type of reproduction, occurring in some insects and flowers, in which the unfertilized ovum develops directly into a new individual
  2. human conception without fertilization by a male; virgin birth
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Derived Formsparthenogenetic (ˌpɑːθɪˌnəʊdʒɪˈnɛtɪk), adjectiveparthenogenetically, adverb

Word Origin

C19: from Greek parthenos virgin + genesis birth
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 parthenogenesis


"reproduction without fertilization," 1849, from Greek parthenos "virgin," of unknown origin, + genesis (see genesis). Related: Parthenogenetic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

parthenogenesis in Medicine


  1. A form of reproduction in which an unfertilized egg develops into a new individual, occurring commonly among insects and certain other arthropods.
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Related formspar′the•no•ge•netic (-jə-nĕtĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

parthenogenesis in Science


  1. Reproduction in which an egg develops into a new individual without being fertilized. Aphids and certain other insects can reproduce by parthenogenesis. Parthenogenesis does not necessarily produce clones of the parent. Among hymenopterans such as honeybees and ants, the haploid males develop from unfertilized eggs laid by the queen, who is diploid. Parthenogenesis is a form of apomixis.
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Related formsparthenogenetic adjective (pär′thə-nō-jə-nĕtĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.