embryo

noun
em·​bryo | \ ˈem-brē-ˌō How to pronounce embryo (audio) \
plural embryos

Definition of embryo

1a : an animal in the early stages of growth and differentiation that are characterized by cleavage, the laying down of fundamental tissues, and the formation of primitive organs and organ systems especially : the developing human individual from the time of implantation to the end of the eighth week after conception
b archaic : a vertebrate at any stage of development prior to birth or hatching
2 : the young sporophyte of a seed plant usually comprising a rudimentary plant with plumule, radicle, and cotyledons
3a : something as yet undeveloped
b : a beginning or undeveloped state of something productions seen in embryo during their out-of-town tryout period— Henry Hewes

Examples of embryo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Howard Vindin of Australia won the regional prize for Asia-Pacific by capturing an autofluorescence image of a mouse embryo. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Extreme closeup of mouse-brain slice wins top Life Science Microscopy prize," 14 Apr. 2020 Most animals have one uterus, or womb; if a developing embryo is already there, there’s no room for more. Douglas Main, National Geographic, "This marsupial is the only animal that's always pregnant," 2 Mar. 2020 Everyone processes their pain and trauma from the UH egg-and-embryo destruction in different ways. Holly Yan, CNN, "A Cleveland fertility clinic that lost 4,000 eggs and embryos just got hit with 2 more lawsuits," 5 Feb. 2020 Not a single embryo was both free of the sickle cell gene and a match for Helen. Gina Kolata, BostonGlobe.com, "At 16, she’s a pioneer in the fight to cure sickle cell disease," 11 Jan. 2020 Whether a pre-embryo is a human being is, at least in part, a question of fact. courant.com, "Oct. 31, 2019: This is Hall🎃ween," 31 Oct. 2019 But even creating a northern white rhino embryo in a petri dish wouldn’t be enough. Ashley Braun, Longreads, "Research and Rescue: Saving Species from Ourselves," 24 Oct. 2019 One embryo from that retrieval is viable and will be frozen until embryo transfers resume. Kim Velsey, Marie Claire, "IVF On Hold," 8 Apr. 2020 The future parents selected one of their frozen embryos, a male, to be implanted in Shandi Phelps’ uterus. oregonlive, "The surrogate’s in Oregon. The parents are in China. And the baby is in limbo.," 5 Apr. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of embryo

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for embryo

Medieval Latin embryon-, embryo, from Greek embryon, from en- + bryein to swell; akin to Greek bryon catkin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about embryo

Time Traveler for embryo

Time Traveler

The first known use of embryo was in 1548

See more words from the same year

Statistics for embryo

Last Updated

1 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Embryo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embryo. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for embryo

embryo

noun
How to pronounce embryo (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of embryo

: a human or animal in the early stages of development before it is born, hatched, etc.

embryo

noun
em·​bryo | \ ˈem-brē-ˌō How to pronounce embryo (audio) \
plural embryos

Kids Definition of embryo

1 : an unborn human or animal in the earliest stages of growth when its basic structures are being formed
2 : a tiny young plant inside a seed

embryo

noun
em·​bryo | \ ˈem-brē-ˌō How to pronounce embryo (audio) \
plural embryos

Medical Definition of embryo

1 archaic : a vertebrate at any stage of development prior to birth or hatching
2 : an animal in the early stages of growth and differentiation that are characterized by cleavage, the laying down of fundamental tissues, and the formation of primitive organs and organ systems especially : the developing human individual from the time of implantation to the end of the eighth week after conception — compare fetus

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on embryo

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with embryo

Spanish Central: Translation of embryo

Nglish: Translation of embryo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of embryo for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about embryo

Comments on embryo

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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