prokaryote

noun
pro·​kary·​ote | \ (ˌ)prō-ˈker-ē-ˌōt How to pronounce prokaryote (audio) , (ˌ)prō-ˈka-rē-ˌōt \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of prokaryote

: any of the typically unicellular microorganisms that lack a distinct nucleus and membrane-bound organelles and that are classified as a kingdom (Prokaryotae synonym Monera) or into two domains (Bacteria and Archaea) — compare archaea, bacterium, eukaryote

Examples of prokaryote in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Up until then, viral factories appeared to be exclusive to the viruses that infect eukaryotes, so finding one in a prokaryote bolstered the idea that something similar could have happened long ago to initiate the formation of a nucleus. Quanta Magazine, "Did Viruses Create the Nucleus? The Answer May Be Near.," 25 Nov. 2020 But some researchers suspect there are many more species of prokaryotes in the world — which would mean many more species of viruses. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "Welcome to the Virosphere," 24 Mar. 2020 In a paper published on March 4 in Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, Dr. Kuhn and his colleagues argued that there are, at minimum, 100 million species of viruses that infect prokaryotes. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "Welcome to the Virosphere," 24 Mar. 2020 Eukaryotes are thought to have first evolved when a host cell swallowed up a prokaryote, or bacteria. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "The tree of life may have only two major branches once again," 17 Dec. 2019 There weren’t just two—there were five, and some were eukaryotes (with nucleuses), and some were prokaryotes (without). Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Are Fighting Over One of the Hottest Places on Earth," 15 Nov. 2019 The first endosymbiosis occurred when a prokaryote—a single-cell organism without a nucleus—engulfed a bacterium, producing the first eukaryotic cell about 1.7 billion years ago. Viviane Callier, Smithsonian, "This Type of Algae Absorbs More Light for Photosynthesis Than Other Plants," 23 Oct. 2019 Far from being rare alternatives to the lone microbe swimming in a flask or sprawled in a Petri dish, 99.9 percent of the simple cells called prokaryotes default to living in close quarters among millions of their compatriots. Carrie Arnold, Quanta Magazine, "Building Codes for Bacterial Cities," 25 July 2017 But that wasn’t complete either, and scientists made a third domain in addition to eukaryotes and prokaryotes: the archaea. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Are Fighting Over One of the Hottest Places on Earth," 15 Nov. 2019

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

1963, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prokaryote

New Latin Prokaryotes, proposed subdivision of protists, from pro- entry 1 + kary- + -otes, plural noun suffix, from Greek -ōtos — more at -otic

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The first known use of prokaryote was in 1963

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prokaryote.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prokaryote. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for prokaryote

prokaryote

noun
pro·​kary·​ote
variants: also procaryote \ (ˈ)prō-​ˈkar-​ē-​ˌōt How to pronounce prokaryote (audio) \

Medical Definition of prokaryote

: any of the typically unicellular microorganisms that lack a distinct nucleus and membrane-bound organelles and that are classified as a kingdom (Prokaryotae synonym Monera) or into two domains (Bacteria and Archaea) — compare eukaryote

Other Words from prokaryote

prokaryotic also procaryotic \ -​ˌkar-​ē-​ˈät-​ik How to pronounce prokaryote (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on prokaryote

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about prokaryote

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