che·​mo·​syn·​the·​sis ˌkē-mō-ˈsin(t)-thə-səs How to pronounce chemosynthesis (audio)
: synthesis of organic compounds (as in living cells) by energy derived from inorganic chemical reactions
chemosynthetic adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But these bacteria devour sulfides to generate energy in a process known as chemosynthesis. Sumeet Kulkarni, Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2022 Analysis showed that these organisms were performing chemosynthesis – creating energy from chemicals in the seawater, in complete darkness. Suzanne Oconnell, The Conversation, 22 June 2021 Unlike surface life, which requires the sun’s light to survive, these life forms lived off the chemical energy in these super-hot toxic plumes—a process called chemosynthesis. James Nestor, Scientific American, 12 Feb. 2018 Researchers realized that there are microbes that, instead of using light to grow, use chemicals from the rocks at hydrothermal vents in a process called chemosynthesis. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 Aug. 2019 These chimney-like structures allow tube worms, clams, mussels, and other organisms to survive not via photosynthesis but chemosynthesis, in which microbes convert chemicals released by the vents into energy. Paul Chesley, National Geographic, 21 Mar. 2019

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

Word History


chemo- + synthesis, after German Chemosynthese

Note: The German term was probably introduced by the botanist and plant physiologist Wilhelm Pfeffer (1845-1920) in Pflanzenphysiologie: Ein Handbuch der Lehre von Stoffwechsel und Kraftwechsel in der Pflanze, 2. völlig umgearbeitete Auflage, 1. Band (1897), p. 273.

First Known Use

1900, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chemosynthesis was in 1900

Dictionary Entries Near chemosynthesis

Cite this Entry

“Chemosynthesis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition


che·​mo·​syn·​the·​sis -ˈsin(t)-thə-səs How to pronounce chemosynthesis (audio)
plural chemosyntheses
: synthesis of organic compounds (as in living cells) by energy derived from inorganic chemical reactions
chemosynthetic adjective

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