DNA

noun
\ˌdē-ˌen-ˈā \

Definition of DNA 

: any of various nucleic acids that are usually the molecular basis of heredity, are constructed of a double helix held together by hydrogen bonds between purine and pyrimidine bases (see base entry 1 sense 7b) which project inward from two chains containing alternate links of deoxyribose and phosphate, and that in eukaryotes are localized chiefly in cell nuclei — compare recombinant dna

Illustration of DNA

Illustration of dna

DNA: A molecular model: 1 hydrogen, 2 oxygen, 3 carbon in the helical phosphate ester chains, 4 carbon and nitrogen in the cross-linked purine and pyrimidine bases, 5 phosphorus; B double helix

First Known Use of DNA

1944, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for DNA

deoxyribonucleic acid

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about DNA

Statistics for DNA

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for DNA

The first known use of DNA was in 1944

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for DNA

DNA

noun

English Language Learners Definition of DNA

: a substance that carries genetic information in the cells of plants and animals

DNA

noun
\ˌdē-ˌen-ˈā \

Kids Definition of DNA

: a large organic molecule that carries genetic information in the chromosomes and resembles a twisted ladder

DNA

noun
\ˌdē-ˌen-ˈā \

Medical Definition of DNA 

: any of various nucleic acids that are usually the molecular basis of heredity, are constructed of a double helix held together by hydrogen bonds between purine and pyrimidine bases which project inward from two chains containing alternate links of deoxyribose and phosphate, and that in eukaryotes are localized chiefly in cell nuclei

called also deoxyribonucleic acid

— see recombinant dna

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on DNA

See words that rhyme with DNA

Spanish Central: Translation of DNA

Nglish: Translation of DNA for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of DNA for Arabic Speakers

Comments on DNA

What made you want to look up DNA? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!