Definition of morphology
1a : a branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of animals and plantsb : the form and structure of an organism or any of its parts amphibian morphology external and internal eye morphology
2a : a study and description of word formation (such as inflection, derivation, and compounding) in languageb : the system of word-forming elements and processes in a language According to English morphology, the third person singular present tense of a verb is formed by adding -s.
4 : the external structure of rocks in relation to the development of erosional forms or topographic features
morphologicallyplay \-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
morphologistplay \mȯr-ˈfä-lə-jist\ noun
Recent Examples of morphology from the Web
Over time, Nabokov’s fixation on morphology and taxonomy—form and classification—shifted to, or perhaps turned out to have been all along, a fixation on history.
Why should poor Christie get all the morphology humor?)
Over the past 30 years, Pace has led a generation of microbiologists who use gene sequences instead of morphology and behavior to identify and classify species.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'morphology'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Within the field of biology, morphology is the study of the shapes and arrangement of parts of organisms, in order to determine their function, their development, and how they may have been shaped by evolution. Morphology is particularly important in classifying species, since it can often reveal how closely one species is related to another. Morphology is studied within other sciences as well, including astronomy and geology. And in language, morphology considers where words come from and why they look the way they do.
Origin and Etymology of morphology
German Morphologie, from morph- + -logie -logy
First Known Use: 1828
MORPHOLOGY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of morphology for English Language Learners
linguistics : the study and description of how words are formed in language
biology : the study of the form and structure of animals and plants
: the form and structure of a plant or animal or any of its parts
Medical Definition of morphology
1: a branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of animals and plants especially with respect to the forms, relations, metamorphoses, and phylogenetic development of organs apart from their functions—see anatomy 1; compare physiology 1
2: the form and structure of an organism or any of its parts
Seen and Heard
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