commensalism

noun

com·​men·​sal·​ism kə-ˈmen(t)-sə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce commensalism (audio)
: a relation between two kinds of organisms in which one obtains food or other benefits from the other without damaging or benefiting it

Examples of commensalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While mutualism brings benefits to both species, commensalism brings benefits to one species while the other is neither helped nor harmed. Sean Mowbray, Discover Magazine, 25 Oct. 2023 Temple monkeys and health implications of commensalism, Kathmandu, Nepal. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 17 Feb. 2014 Indirect commensalism promotes persistence of secondary consumer species. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 14 Aug. 2012 In a kind of symbiosis called commensalism, humans tolerated the cats being around because the vermin hunters kept the grain pest-free. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 19 June 2017 Other types of symbiosis include parasitism, commensalism, and amensalism. Liz Langley, National Geographic, 25 Sep. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'commensalism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1870, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of commensalism was in 1870

Dictionary Entries Near commensalism

Cite this Entry

“Commensalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/commensalism. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

commensalism

noun
com·​men·​sal·​ism kə-ˈmen(t)-sə-ˌliz-əm How to pronounce commensalism (audio)
: a relation between two kinds of plants or animals in which one obtains a benefit (as food) from the other without damaging or benefiting it

Medical Definition

commensalism

noun
com·​men·​sal·​ism -sə-ˌliz-əm How to pronounce commensalism (audio)
: a relation between two kinds of organisms in which one obtains food or other benefits from the other without damaging or benefiting it

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