[ 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. 2020

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 of spermatheca

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

Scientific 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.