poly·​gen·​ic ˌpä-lē-ˈje-nik How to pronounce polygenic (audio) -ˈjē- How to pronounce polygenic (audio)
: of, relating to, mediated by, or constituting polygenes : involving two or more nonallelic genes collectively in determining inherited characteristics : multifactorial sense 1
polygenic inheritance
polygenic traits
Others think the allergic state is polygenic: transmitted by a number of genes whose combined expression is necessary to make a person allergic.Paul D. Buisseret

Examples of polygenic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Since recruitment started in 2006, the data—which was used in more than 3,000 scientific papers published last year—has enabled innovations like the concept of the polygenic risk score, which measures the genetic risk of diseases. TIME, 2 May 2024 What can a polygenic risk score tell you about your health? Julia Ries, SELF, 15 Nov. 2023 The second bucket of tests are polygenic risk scores. Julia Ries, SELF, 18 Oct. 2023 As Risch observes above intelligence is highly polygenic. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 28 May 2013 Higher polygenic risk scores are associated with earlier onset of migraines and more frequent and severe attacks8. Madeleine Streets, SELF, 13 June 2022 The report also called for the Federal Trade Commission to look carefully at claims made by any company using polygenic scoring to pick embryos. Laura Hercher, Scientific American, 12 July 2021 Even then, polygenic risk scores do not always provide answers. Gina Kolata, New York Times, 30 May 2023 This can be done by determining someone’s genetic risk score, also known as a polygenic risk score8. Madeleine Streets, SELF, 13 June 2022

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

Word History


poly- + gene + -ic entry 1, after German polygen

Note: The term polygen was introduced by the German zoologist and social Darwinist Ludwig Plate (1862-1937) in Vererbungslehre, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Menschen (Leipzig, 1913), p. 75

First Known Use

1928, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of polygenic was in 1928

Dictionary Entries Near polygenic

Cite this Entry

“Polygenic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polygenic. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Medical Definition


poly·​gen·​ic ˌpäl-i-ˈjēn-ik How to pronounce polygenic (audio) -ˈjen-ik How to pronounce polygenic (audio)
: of, relating to, or resulting from polygenes : multifactorial
a polygenic disorder
polygenically adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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