poly·​phy·​let·​ic ˌpä-lē-(ˌ)fī-ˈle-tik How to pronounce polyphyletic (audio)
: of, relating to, or derived from more than one ancestral stock
specifically : relating to or being a taxonomic group that includes members (such as genera or species) from different ancestral lineages
polyphyletically adverb

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary, from Greek polyphylos of many tribes, from poly- + phylē tribe — more at phyl-

First Known Use

1875, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of polyphyletic was in 1875

Dictionary Entries Near polyphyletic

Cite this Entry

“Polyphyletic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polyphyletic. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition


poly·​phy·​let·​ic ˌpäl-i-(ˌ)fī-ˈlet-ik How to pronounce polyphyletic (audio)
: of or relating to more than one stock
specifically : derived from more than one ancestral line
polyphyletically adverb
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