pe·​riph·​y·​ton pə-ˈri-fə-ˌtän How to pronounce periphyton (audio)
: organisms (such as some algae) that live attached to underwater surfaces
periphytic adjective

Examples of periphyton in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Lack of freshwater has caused periphyton, which forms the basis of the marsh food chain, to collapse in some places. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, 5 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'periphyton.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Russian perifitón, probably borrowed from Greek períphyton, neuter of períphytos, verbal adjective of periphýesthai "to grow all around," from peri- peri- + phýesthai "to grow, spring up," middle voice of phýein "to bring forth, produce" (formed in Russian by analogy with planktón plankton) — more at be

Note: The Russian term was introduced by the hydrobiologist Arvid Liborʼevič Bening (1890-1943, of Volga and Bessarabian German ancestry) in K izučeniju pridonnoj žizni reki Volgi, Monografija No. 1 Volžckoj Biologičeskoj Stancii (Saratov, 1924).

First Known Use

1931, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of periphyton was in 1931

Dictionary Entries Near periphyton

Cite this Entry

“Periphyton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

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