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 This species is also known to reproduce parthenogenetically, which is when the egg cells combine with each other to create an embryo that only contains genetic material from their mother. Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes, 15 June 2021 These bills are engineered to incite extreme emotion—sympathy for an embryo and abhorrence for people seeking abortions. Marie Solis, The New Republic, 26 May 2021 To ensure that an embryo—a wad of unfamiliar tissue—will be tolerated, parts of a pregnant person’s immune system must remain muzzled for months, then rebound after the baby is born. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 31 Mar. 2021 Even the most staunchly antiabortion advocate has to acknowledge that the act of pregnancy requires two participants: the developing embryo and the person carrying it. Washington Post, 26 May 2021 Louise had been conceived in a petri dish in the lab of physiologist Robert Edwards, whose team implanted the embryo in Lesley Brown’s uterus shortly thereafter. Kiona N. Smith, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2021 After 1 week of development, the organoids are structurally equivalent to the heart of a 25-day-old embryo. Sofia Moutinho, Science | AAAS, 20 May 2021 Making laws that address full human embryo cloning, then, requires a jigsaw puzzle of careful language that doesn’t rule out these kinds of therapeutic cloning. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 11 May 2021 And some people consider human embryo research to be unethical at any stage. USA Today, 2 May 2021

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

Statistics for embryo

Last Updated

20 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Embryo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embryo. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for embryo

embryo

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on embryo

Nglish: Translation of embryo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of embryo for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about embryo

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

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!