di·​oe·​cious (ˌ)dī-ˈē-shəs How to pronounce dioecious (audio)
: having male reproductive organs in one individual and female in another
: having staminate and pistillate flowers borne on different individuals
dioecism noun
dioecy noun

Examples of dioecious in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the manner of dioecious plants generally — from pistachio trees to date palms — jojoba is wind-pollinated. Joshua Siskin, Orange County Register, 27 Jan. 2024 But the general behavioral point is rooted in realities of anatomy and life-history; in many dioecious species males and females exhibit a great deal of biological and behavioral dimorphism. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 31 Mar. 2010 Wild grapes are dioecious; plants are male or female. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 27 July 2016 Date palms are dioecious, meaning that trees are either male or female — females are treated with pollen from the male plants. Christian Reynoso, Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct. 2021 The ginkgo tree is dioecious, meaning there are separate male and female trees. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, 27 Sep. 2020 Hollies are dioecious, Lorimer added, meaning there are separate male and female plants. BostonGlobe.com, 5 Dec. 2019 Ryan Nelson of Western Springs misspelled dioecious in the second round. Chuck Fieldman, chicagotribune.com, 31 May 2018 Willows are dioecious; that is, male trees produce only male flowers, and female trees produce only female flowers. Dave Taft, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2018

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

Word History


New Latin Dioecia, class name (from Greek di- di- + oîkos "house, home" + New Latin -ia -ia entry 1) + -ous — more at vicinity

Note: The class name Dioecia was introduced by linnaeus in his Systema naturae (Leiden, 1735).

First Known Use

1752, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dioecious was in 1752

Dictionary Entries Near dioecious

Cite this Entry

“Dioecious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dioecious. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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