au·​tot·​o·​my | \ ȯ-ˈtä-tə-mē How to pronounce autotomy (audio) \

Definition of autotomy

: reflex separation of a part (such as an appendage) from the body : division of the body into two or more pieces

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Other Words from autotomy

autotomous \ -​məs How to pronounce autotomous (audio) \ adjective
autotomize \ -​ˌmīz How to pronounce autotomize (audio) \ verb

Examples of autotomy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Leopard geckos are one of a few lizard species that possess this self-amputation ability, known as autotomy. Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, "Lizards Learn a Silly Walk after Losing Their Tails," 1 Dec. 2017

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

First Known Use of autotomy

1887, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for autotomy

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for autotomy

The first known use of autotomy was in 1887

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More Definitions for autotomy


au·​tot·​o·​my | \ ȯ-ˈtät-ə-mē How to pronounce autotomy (audio) \
plural autotomies

Medical Definition of autotomy

: reflex separation of a part from the body especially in an invertebrate

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Comments on autotomy

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


to take the place or position of

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