commensal was our Word of the Day on 12/17/2012. Hear the podcast!
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Recent Examples of commensal from the Web
In payment, the plants feed their commensal friends with sugars.
This turned out to be because the antibiotics also diminished the numbers of tuft cells in the colon; only they, and not commensal bacteria, are required for norovirus infection.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commensal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Commensal types, be they human or beast, often "break bread" together. When they do, they are reflecting the etymology of commensal, which derives from the Latin prefix com-, meaning "with, together," jointly and the Latin adjective mensalis, meaning "of the table." In its earliest English uses, "commensal" referred to people who ate together, but around 1870, biologists started using it for organisms that have no use for a four-piece table setting. Since then, the scientific sense has almost completely displaced the dining one.
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