che·​mo·​tax·​on·​o·​my ˌkē-mō-(ˌ)tak-ˈsä-nə-mē How to pronounce chemotaxonomy (audio)
: the classification of plants and animals based on similarities and differences in biochemical composition
chemotaxonomic adjective
chemotaxonomist noun

Word History


borrowed from German Chemotaxonomie, from chemo- chemo- + Taxonomie taxonomy

Note: Term promulgated, if not introduced, by the Swiss botanist and biochemist Robert Hegnauer (1919-2007), in "Chemotaxonomische Betrachtungen VI. Phytochemie und Systematik: Eine Rück—und Vorausschau auf die Entwicklung einer Chemotaxonomie," Pharmaceutica Acta Helvetiae, Band 33 (1958), pp. 287-305. Hegnauer used the adjective chemotaxonomisch "chemotaxonomic" earlier (see "Chemotaxonomische Betrachtung der Leguminosae," Die Pharmazie, 5. Band, Heft 10 [October, 1956], pp. 638-51.)

First Known Use

1963, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chemotaxonomy was in 1963

Dictionary Entries Near chemotaxonomy

Cite this Entry

“Chemotaxonomy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2024.

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