pheromone

noun
pher·​o·​mone | \ ˈfer-ə-ˌmōn How to pronounce pheromone (audio) \

Definition of pheromone

: a chemical substance that is usually produced by an animal and serves especially as a stimulus to other individuals of the same species for one or more behavioral responses

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Other Words from pheromone

pheromonal \ ˌfer-​ə-​ˈmō-​nᵊl How to pronounce pheromone (audio) \ adjective

Examples of pheromone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The earliest research on insect pheromones required about a half-million female silkmoths to extract a few milligrams of pheromone; the smallest recent study of plant pheromones used 20 flowers. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Extremely Rare Orchid Tricks Horny Beetles Into Carrying Its Pollen," 25 Mar. 2021 Products like Adaptilmimic the natural pheromone that mama dogs emit to calm their litters. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, "If your dog barks at everything, interrupting Zoom meetings, work calls, here's how to fix that," 19 Mar. 2021 One chemical, conazolium A, looks like a pheromone that makes female worms swim in tight, tail-chasing circles before spewing their eggs; another is reminiscent of uric acid, which prompts males to eject gobs of sperm. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "Cone Snails Are Liars and Murderers," 12 Mar. 2021 But while the insulin cohort seems to tame its targets, the pheromone-makers rile theirs up; both behaviors seem to bring hunter and huntee into close contact. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "Cone Snails Are Liars and Murderers," 12 Mar. 2021 These are literal trails where ants lay down a pheromone on the path to a food source to attract other ants from their colony. Tamara Gane, Southern Living, "How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen," 12 Mar. 2021 There are, thankfully, several products that can ease kitty social tensions, and this pheromone spray is one of the most popular. Tessa Bahoosh, USA TODAY, "10 things that make owning multiple cats easier," 8 Mar. 2021 This eventually led to my becoming the first to ever isolate a mammalian pheromone receptor. Quanta Magazine, "Catherine Dulac Finds Brain Circuitry Behind Sex-Specific Behaviors," 14 Dec. 2020 Snakes will follow pheromone trails laid down by other snakes leading to the den. Washington Post, "What’s in a name? Well, for Snakeden Branch, it means ‘Here be snakes.’," 12 Dec. 2020

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

1959, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pheromone

Greek phérein "to carry" + -o- + -mone (in hormone) — more at bear entry 2

Note: Name introduced by the German biochemist Peter Karlson (1918-2001) and the Swiss entomologist Martin Lüscher (1917-79) in "'Pheromones': a New Term for a Class of Biologically Active Substances," Nature, vol. 183, no. 4653 (January 3, 1959), pp. 55-56: "We propose, therefore, the designation 'pheromone' for this group of active substances. The name is derived from the Greek pherein, to transfer; hormōn, to excite. Pheromones are defined as substances which are secreted to the outside by an individual and received by a second individual of the same species, in which they release a specific reaction, for example, a definite behaviour or a developmental process."

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Time Traveler for pheromone

Time Traveler

The first known use of pheromone was in 1959

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Statistics for pheromone

Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pheromone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pheromone. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for pheromone

pheromone

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pheromone

biology : a chemical substance that an animal or insect produces in order to attract other animals or insects and especially a mate

pheromone

noun
pher·​o·​mone | \ ˈfer-ə-ˌmōn How to pronounce pheromone (audio) \

Medical Definition of pheromone

: a chemical substance that is produced by an animal and serves especially as a stimulus to other individuals of the same species for one or more behavioral responses

called also ectohormone

More from Merriam-Webster on pheromone

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pheromone

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