pher·​o·​mone | \ˈfer-ə-ˌmōn \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pheromone

pheromonal \ˌfer-​ə-​ˈmō-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of pheromone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Even those who aren’t afraid of the vet or the visit can still smell the scent pheromones left by other animals that have been there—and those smells often announce stress, anxiety, or fear. Ace Ratcliff, SELF, "Pet Euthanasia at Home: 6 Ways to Make Putting Down Your Pet Easier on Them—and You," 25 Oct. 2018 Better eating through chemistry The new work looks a bit more closely at the production of these pheromones and how they are used as part of an attack on a bee. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Gangs of beetle larvae lure fathers of their next meal into sex trap," 12 Sep. 2018 To find females, males fly slowly through the forest broadcasting their light, while females also glow and may emit pheromones. National Geographic, "Living Fireworks, These Animals Produce Light Shows with Their Bodies," 30 June 2018 Each spring, the orchid, whose bulbous crimson body looks like an insect, releases a pheromone that tricks solitary male bees into thinking the plant is a mating partner — a key step for pollination. Author: Livia Albeck Ripka, Brad Plumer, Anchorage Daily News, "5 plants and animals utterly confused by climate change," 10 Apr. 2018 Furry Spies Tristram Wyatt, zoologist at the University of Oxford and expert in pheromones, says there's a strong evolutionary incentive for species to learn to listen in on their neighbors. National Geographic, "These Mice Spy on Their Predators—By Sniffing Their Tears," 29 Mar. 2018 Growers affix brown packets of pheromones or specialized attractants to the wires for when a certain butterfly shows up to lay eggs on the grape vines. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Trip to Bordeaux wine country is an educational experience," 13 July 2018 Another option is to purchase a diffuser that emits an odorless vapor that mimics calming pheromones for dogs or cats, like the Comfort Zone Diffuser, suggests Nelson. Stephanie Eckelkamp, Good Housekeeping, "9 Tips For Keeping Your Pet Calm And Safe During Fireworks," 30 June 2017 Southern pine beetles normally pool their efforts by using chemical attractants called pheromones to summon each other to target trees. Washington Post, "Pine-killing southern beetle may be more deadly in North," 10 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of pheromone

1959, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pheromone

International Scientific Vocabulary phero- (from Greek pherein to carry) + -mone (as in hormone) — more at bear

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pheromone

Dictionary Entries near pheromone








Statistics for pheromone

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pheromone

The first known use of pheromone was in 1959

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pheromone



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


pher·​o·​mone | \ˈfer-ə-ˌmōn \

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 Encyclopedia article about pheromone

Comments on pheromone

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


amusing and light sparring with words

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?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

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!