[ spur-muh-thee-kuh ]
/ ˌspɜr məˈθi kə /

noun, plural sper·ma·the·cae [spur-muh-thee-see] /ˌspɜr məˈθi si/. Zoology.

a small sac or cavity in female or hermaphroditic invertebrates used to store sperm for fertilizing eggs, as in the queen bee.

Origin of spermatheca

1820–30; sperma- (variant of spermato-, spermo-) + theca
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for spermatheca


/ (ˌspɜːməˈθiːkə) /


a sac or cavity within the body of many female invertebrates, esp insects, used for storing spermatozoa before fertilization takes place

Derived Forms

spermathecal, adjective

Word Origin for spermatheca

C19: see sperm 1, theca
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 spermatheca


[ spûr′mə-thēkə ]

Plural spermathecae (spûr′mə-thē)

A receptacle in the reproductive tracts of certain female invertebrates, especially insects, in which spermatozoa are received and stored until needed to fertilize the ova.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.