[ sap-ruh-pel ]
/ ˈsæp rəˌpɛl /


mud consisting chiefly of decomposed organic matter formed at the bottom of a stagnant sea or lake.

Origin of sapropel

1905–10; sapro- + -pel < Greek pēlós mud
Related formssap·ro·pel·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for sapropel


/ (ˈsæprəˌpɛl) /


an unconsolidated sludge consisting of the decomposed remains of aquatic organisms, esp algae, that accumulates at the bottoms of lakes and oceans
Derived Formssapropelic, adjective

Word Origin for sapropel

C20: from sapro- + -pel from Greek pēlos mud
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

Science definitions for sapropel


[ săprə-pĕl′ ]

An unconsolidated ooze consisting mainly of putrefied plant remains and found in anaerobic areas at the bottom of swamps, lakes, and shallow seas.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.