abio·​gen·​e·​sis | \ˌā-ˌbī-ō-ˈje-nə-səs \

Definition of abiogenesis 

: the origin of life from nonliving matter specifically : a theory in the evolution of early life on earth : organic molecules and subsequent simple life forms first originated from inorganic substances According to the conventional hypothesis, the earliest living cells emerged as a result of chemical evolution on our planet billions of years ago in a process called abiogenesis. — David Warmflash et al.

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Other Words from abiogenesis

abiogenist \ˌā-​(ˌ)bī-​ˈä-​jə-​nist \ noun

Examples of abiogenesis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

This produces the ‘abiogenesis zone’ — Goldilocks planets where there was enough UV light to activate organic chemistry. Jamie Seidel, Fox News, "This distant planet is one of the best places to search for alien life," 3 Aug. 2018 Like abiogenesis in the primordial soup, sometimes the conditions all have to align for a technology to become usable by the general public. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Here’s what Siri would have been like on MS-DOS in 1987," 13 Feb. 2018 This is the first time so many scientific models from different fields of study were combined to study abiogenesis, and the disparate science models came together to create a surprisingly cohesive picture of how life emerged on our planet. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "New Study Suggests Life Started on Earth Much Earlier Than Thought," 2 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abiogenesis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of abiogenesis

1870, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abiogenesis

a- entry 2 + bio- + genesis

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Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for abiogenesis

The first known use of abiogenesis was in 1870

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More Definitions for abiogenesis


abio·​gen·​e·​sis | \ˌā-ˌbī-ō-ˈjen-ə-səs \

Medical Definition of abiogenesis 

: the supposed spontaneous origination of living organisms directly from lifeless matter

called also spontaneous generation

— compare biogenesis

Other Words from abiogenesis

abiogenist \ˌā-​(ˌ)bī-​ˈäj-​ə-​nəst \ or abiogenesist \-​ˌbī-​ō-​ˈjen-​ə-​səst \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on abiogenesis

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about abiogenesis

Comments on abiogenesis

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


a nest or breeding place

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