\ˈō-vəm \
plural ova\ˈō-​və \

Definition of ovum 

: a female gamete : macrogamete

called also egg cell

Examples of ovum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Pregnancy occurs when a sperm cell fertilizes an ovum that has been released into the Fallopian tubes after ovulation. Shan Boodram, Teen Vogue, "Period Sex 101: Everything You Need to Know," 19 July 2018 This is the part of the sperm that produces an enzyme that breaks down the outer edge of the ovum, enabling pregnancy. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Why There Are Sperm Swimming Around at the Space Station," 16 July 2018 In more 80 percent of the 41 fertilized ovums tested, the growing and dividing cells failed to form a hollow sphere of about 200 cells, called a blastocyst. Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian, "Gene Editing of Embryos Gives Insight Into Basic Human Biology," 21 Sep. 2017 If there exists a Platonic ideal of a bird egg, an ovum shaped most like all the others, it is not laid by a chicken but by a small warbler called the graceful prinia. Ben Guarino, sacbee.com, "Why are eggs shaped like, well, eggs? Scientists say they’ve figured it out," 22 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ovum.' 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 ovum

1672, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ovum

New Latin, from Latin, egg — more at egg1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ovum

Dictionary Entries near ovum







owala oil

Statistics for ovum

Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ovum

The first known use of ovum was in 1672

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ovum


\ˈō-vəm \
plural ova\ˈō-​və \

Kids Definition of ovum


\ˈō-vəm \
plural ova\-​və \

Medical Definition of ovum 

: a female gamete : macrogamete especially : a mature egg that has undergone reduction, is ready for fertilization, and takes the form of a relatively large inactive gamete providing a comparatively great amount of reserve material and contributing most of the cytoplasm of the zygote

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ovum

Spanish Central: Translation of ovum

Nglish: Translation of ovum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ovum

Comments on ovum

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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