[ sap-ruh-fahyt ]
/ ˈsæp rəˌfaɪt /


any organism that lives on dead organic matter, as certain fungi and bacteria.

Nearby words

  1. saprogenous,
  2. saprolite,
  3. saprolitic,
  4. sapropel,
  5. saprophagous,
  6. saprophytic,
  7. saprotroph,
  8. saprozoic,
  9. saprozoonosis,
  10. saps

Origin of saprophyte

First recorded in 1870–75; sapro- + -phyte

Also called saprobe.

Related formssap·ro·phyt·ic [sap-ruh-fit-ik] /ˌsæp rəˈfɪt ɪk/, adjectivesap·ro·phyt·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for saprophytic

British Dictionary definitions for saprophytic


/ (ˈsæprəʊˌfaɪt) /


any plant that lives and feeds on dead organic matter using mycorrhizal fungi associated with its roots; a saprotrophic plant
Derived Formssaprophytic (ˌsæprəʊˈfɪtɪk), adjectivesaprophytically, adverb

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 saprophytic
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for saprophytic


[ săprə-fīt′ ]


An organism, especially a fungus or bacterium, that grows on and derives its nourishment from dead or decaying organic matter.
Related formssap′ro•phytic (-fĭtĭk) adj.

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

Science definitions for saprophytic


[ săprə-fīt′ ]

An organism, especially a fungus or bacterium, that lives on and gets its nourishment from dead organisms or decaying organic material. Saprophytes recycle organic material in the soil, breaking it down into in simpler compounds that can be taken up by other organisms.
Related formssaprophytic adjective (săp′rə-fĭtĭk)

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.