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. 2018

Examples from the Web for saprophytically

Historical Examples of saprophytically

  • They could not have made Bladesover they cannot replace it; they just happen to break out over it—saprophytically.

    Tono Bungay

    H. G. Wells

British Dictionary definitions for saprophytically


  1. 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 saprophytically



"bacteria or fungus that grows on decaying organic matter," 1867, from French, from Greek sapros "putrid" + phyton "plant" (see phyto-). Related: Saprophytism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

saprophytically in Medicine


  1. 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.

saprophytically in Science


  1. 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.