apomorphy

play
noun ap·o·mor·phy \ˈa-pə-ˌmȯr-fē\

Definition of apomorphy

plural

apomorphies

biological taxonomy

  1. :  a specialized trait or character that is unique to a group or species :  a character state (such as the presence of feathers) not present in an ancestral form In this case, white flowers are a derived condition, an apomorphy, and red flowers are the ancestral condition. — James D. Mauseth, Botany: An Introduction to Plant Biology, 2009

apomorphic

\¦a-pə-¦mȯr-fik\ play less commonly

apomorph

\ˈa-pə-ˌmȯrf\ play adjective As far as possible, it is assumed that each apomorphic evolutionary event only occurred once in the history of each group of related taxa … — C. Barry Cox and Peter D. Moore, Biogeography: An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach, 2010 … such apomorph characters are believed to be found only among the descendants of the ancestor in which the character first occurred. — Ernst Mayr, The Growth of Biological Thought, 1982

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Origin and Etymology of apomorphy

apomorphic or apomorphous (borrowed from German apomorph, from apo- “away from, apo-” + -morph “having such a structure, -morphous) + 2-y


First Known Use: 1969


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to help become familiar with something

Get Word of the Day daily email!