am·​plex·​us am-ˈplek-səs How to pronounce amplexus (audio)
: the mating embrace of some amphibians (such as frogs and toads) in which the male typically takes a position on the back of the female and tightly grasps onto the female with his front legs
Frogs mate in a position called amplexus, with the smaller male clasping the female from behind in a ride that can last two days or more. As she lays eggs, he expels sperm to fertilize them.Mel White

Examples of amplexus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There have been a lot of reports of misdirected amplexus in super-degraded habitats, and many of them have occurred in recent years. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 17 May 2022 Most species practice amplexus in some form, and there are many unique ways of carrying it out. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 14 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'amplexus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Latin, "embrace," from amplectere "to embrace" (from am-, assimilated variant of amb- "around, about" + plectere "to plait, twine") + -tus, suffix of action nouns — more at ambient entry 1, ply entry 3

First Known Use

1900, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of amplexus was in 1900

Dictionary Entries Near amplexus

Cite this Entry

“Amplexus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

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