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a combining form meaning “seed”; used with this meaning and as a combining form of sperm1 in the formation of compound words: spermatogonium.
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Also especially before a vowel, spermat-.

Origin of spermato-

<Greek spermat- (stem of spérma;see sperm1) + -o-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does spermato- mean?

Spermato- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “seed” and “sperm.” Sperm are the reproductive cells contained in semen. Spermato- is occasionally used in scientific terms, especially in biology in reference to the reproductive cycles of plants and animals.

Spermato- comes from the Greek spérma, meaning “sperm.”

What are variants of spermato-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, spermato- becomes spermat-, as in spermaturia.

The forms sperm-, spermi-, and spermo- are also combining forms from Greek spérma that are variously used to mean “sperm” or “seed.”

Related combining forms used as suffixes include -sperm, -spermal, -spermic, and -spermous.

Want to learn more? Check out our Words That Use entries for each of these seven forms.

Examples of spermato-

An example of a scientific term you may have encountered that features spermato- is spermatozoon (plural, spermatozoa), “one of the minute, usually actively motile gametes in semen, which serve to fertilize the ovum.”

The form spermato- means “sperm,” as we know. The -zoon portion of the word means “organism,” from Greek zôion, and spermatozoon literally translates to “sperm organism.”

What are some words that use the combining form spermato-?

What are some other forms that spermato- may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form -cyte means “cell.” With this in mind, what does spermatocyte mean in everyday language?

British Dictionary definitions for spermato-


spermo- before a vowel spermat- or sperm-

combining form
indicating spermspermatogenesis
indicating seedspermatophyte

Word Origin for spermato-

from Greek sperma, spermat-, seed; see sperm 1
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

Medical definitions for spermato-


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