che·​mo·​tax·​on·​o·​my | \ ˌkē-mō-(ˌ)tak-ˈsä-nə-mē How to pronounce chemotaxonomy (audio) \

Definition of chemotaxonomy

: the classification of plants and animals based on similarities and differences in biochemical composition

Other Words from chemotaxonomy

chemotaxonomic \ ˌkē-​mō-​ˌtak-​sə-​ˈnä-​mik How to pronounce chemotaxonomic (audio) \ adjective
chemotaxonomist \ ˌkē-​mō-​(ˌ)tak-​ˈsä-​nə-​mist How to pronounce chemotaxonomist (audio) \ noun

First Known Use of chemotaxonomy

1963, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chemotaxonomy

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.)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chemotaxonomy

Time Traveler for chemotaxonomy

Time Traveler

The first known use of chemotaxonomy was in 1963

See more words from the same year

Statistics for chemotaxonomy

Cite this Entry

“Chemotaxonomy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

Comments on chemotaxonomy

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


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!