on·​tog·​e·​ny än-ˈtä-jə-nē How to pronounce ontogeny (audio)
: the development or course of development especially of an individual organism

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Having a big nose: structure, ontogeny, and function of the elephant seal proboscis. Darren Naish, Scientific American Blog Network, 3 June 2017

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

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

1872, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ontogeny was in 1872

Dictionary Entries Near ontogeny

Cite this Entry

“Ontogeny.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ontogeny. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition



on·​tog·​e·​ny än-ˈtäj-ə-nē How to pronounce ontogeny (audio)
plural ontogenies
: the development or course of development of an individual organism

called also ontogenesis

compare phylogeny sense 2

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