di·​mor·​phic | \ (ˌ)dī-ˈmȯr-fik How to pronounce dimorphic (audio) \

Definition of dimorphic

b : occurring in two distinct forms dimorphic leaves sexually dimorphic coloration in birds
2 : combining qualities of two kinds of individuals in one

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Dimorphism varies greatly in the animal kingdom. Among mammals, the male is generally larger than the female, but other differences in appearance tend to be modest. But birds are usually noticeably dimorphic, with the male being the more colorful sex; when we imagine a pheasant, a mallard, a cardinal, or a peacock, we're almost always picturing the male rather than the female. Among spiders the situation is often reversed. The golden orb-weaver spider, for example, is spectacularly dimorphic: the female may be 20 times the size of the male, and she usually ends up eating him, sometimes even while he's mating with her. Many sea creatures, including many fish, take care of gender problems by simply changing from one sex into the other.

Examples of dimorphic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The canines are sexually dimorphic, being larger in males. Darren Naish, Scientific American Blog Network, 3 June 2017 How will understanding the role of doublesex in sexually dimorphic insect traits help us understand phenotypic variation in other animals, even humans? Smithsonian, 22 Mar. 2017

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

First Known Use of dimorphic

1859, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of dimorphic was in 1859

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Cite this Entry

“Dimorphic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dimorphic. Accessed 9 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for dimorphic


di·​mor·​phic | \ (ˈ)dī-ˈmȯr-fik How to pronounce dimorphic (audio) \

Medical Definition of dimorphic

2 : occurring in two distinct forms


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