protist

noun

pro·​tist ˈprō-(ˌ)tist How to pronounce protist (audio)
: any of a diverse taxonomic group and especially a kingdom (Protista synonym Protoctista) of eukaryotic organisms that are unicellular and sometimes colonial or less often multicellular and that typically include the protozoans, most algae, and often some fungi (such as slime molds)
protistan adjective or noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Over the past 50 years or so, scientists have shown that hundreds of organisms in nearly all branches of the bacterial, protist and animal kingdoms have the ability to detect and respond to this geomagnetic field. Shinsuke Shimojo, Daw-an Wu, Discover Magazine, 18 Mar. 2019 Viral genes were detected alongside 51 percent of protist cells from the gulf and 35 percent from the sea. Jennifer Frazer, Scientific American, 11 Nov. 2020 However, as only 22 out of 1,698 protist genomes detected belonged to these two groups, these results are certainly suggestive but by no means definitive. Jennifer Frazer, Scientific American, 11 Nov. 2020 Any genetic material that differed from a protist’s, the team reasoned, was probably the signature of something the microbes had eaten. Katherine J. Wu New York Times, Star Tribune, 24 Sep. 2020 Dicty, the prodigy protist, not only solved this maze but also managed to use its self-generating gradient skills to find a shortcut. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, 28 Aug. 2020 Instead, malaria is a protist, an organism that in some cases dramatically changes form depending on its life cycle. oregonlive, 25 Jan. 2020 Their emergence more than one billion years ago was a foundational event in the development of eukaryotes, which include plants, animals, protists and fungi. Quanta Magazine, 20 June 2013 Until fairly recently, myxosporeans were considered to be protists, offshoots of the eukaryotic line that are neither plants, animals nor fungi. Quanta Magazine, 19 Aug. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'protist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

New Latin Protista, from Greek, neuter plural of prōtistos very first, primal, from superlative of prōtos first — more at proto-

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of protist was in 1873

Dictionary Entries Near protist

Cite this Entry

“Protist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/protist. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

protist

noun
pro·​tist ˈprōt-əst How to pronounce protist (audio)
: any of a kingdom of organisms that resemble plants or animals or both, are one-celled and sometimes colonial or less often many-celled, and that typically include the protozoans, most algae, and often some fungi (as slime molds)
protistan adjective or noun

Medical Definition

protist

noun
: any of a diverse taxonomic group and especially a kingdom (Protista synonym Protoctista) of eukaryotic organisms that are unicellular and sometimes colonial or less often multicellular and that typically include the protozoans, most algae, and often some fungi (as slime molds)
protistan adjective or noun

More from Merriam-Webster on protist

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