[ toh-tip-uh-tuh nt ]
/ toʊˈtɪp ə tənt /

adjective Biology.

(of a cell or part) having the potential for developing in various specialized ways in response to external or internal stimuli.

Nearby words

  1. totidem verbis,
  2. toting,
  3. totipalmate,
  4. totipalmation,
  5. totipotency,
  6. totis viribus,
  7. totleben,
  8. toto,
  9. toto caelo,
  10. totowa

Origin of totipotent

First recorded in 1895–1900; toti- + potent1

Related formsto·tip·o·ten·cy, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for totipotency


/ (təʊˈtɪpətənt) /


(of an animal cell) capable of differentiation and so forming a new individual, tissue, organ, etc
Derived Formstotipotency, noun

Word Origin for totipotent

C20: from Latin tōtus entire + potent 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

Word Origin and History for totipotency



1896, from Latin toti-, comb. form of totus "whole" (see total (adj.)) + potent. Perhaps immediately from German totipotent, which is attested by 1893. Related: Totipotency.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for totipotency


[ tō-tĭpə-tən-sē, tō′tĭ-pōtn-sē ]


The ability of a cell, such as an egg, to give rise to unlike cells and to develop into or generate a new organism or part.
Related formsto•tipo•tent adj.

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

Culture definitions for totipotency


The ability of cells such as an embryonic stem cell to differentiate into any type of body cell. Plant cells are also totipotent, which helps to explain why a graft of a plant can generate a whole new individual out of just a small branch cutting.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.