sap·ro·phyte | \ˈsa-prə-ˌfīt \

Definition of saprophyte 

: a saprophytic organism

Examples of saprophyte in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Superficially, cancer root appears like Indian pipe, a woodland dwelling saprophyte, a plant that feeds on decomposing plant matter. New York Times, "The Flower That Must Not Be Named," 13 June 2018

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

First Known Use of saprophyte

1870, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for saprophyte

International Scientific Vocabulary

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about saprophyte

Share saprophyte

Statistics for saprophyte

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for saprophyte

The first known use of saprophyte was in 1870

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for saprophyte


sap·ro·phyte | \ˈsap-rə-ˌfīt \

Medical Definition of saprophyte 

: a saprophytic organism especially : a plant living on dead or decaying organic matter

More from Merriam-Webster on saprophyte Encyclopedia article about saprophyte

Comments on saprophyte

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!