\ ˈō-vəm How to pronounce ovum (audio) \
plural ova\ ˈō-​və How to pronounce ova (audio) \

Definition of ovum

: a female gamete : macrogamete

called also egg cell

Examples of ovum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The right chemical stimulus can cause a mammalian ovum in a lab, even a human one, to start dividing and producing an embryo without sperm. Quanta Magazine, "How to Breed a Pomsky and Other Questions About Dogs and Sex," 18 June 2020 Each ovum has its own characteristics and personality, but the woman is young, not necessarily in a forever-relationship and just not ready for a baby of her own. Christine Dolen, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: ‘She Shorts’ puts women in the spotlight," 15 July 2019 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.

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First Known Use of ovum

1672, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ovum

New Latin, from Latin, egg — more at egg entry 1

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Cite this Entry

“Ovum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ovum. Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for ovum


\ ˈō-vəm How to pronounce ovum (audio) \
plural ova\ ˈō-​və \

Kids Definition of ovum


\ ˈō-vəm How to pronounce ovum (audio) \
plural ova\ -​və How to pronounce ova (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ovum

Nglish: Translation of ovum for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ovum

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