\ ˈspərm How to pronounce sperm (audio) \
plural sperm or sperms

Definition of sperm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : semen
b : a male gamete especially : spermatozoon sense 1
2 : a product of the sperm whale
variants: or spermo- or sperma- or spermi-

Definition of sperm- (Entry 2 of 2)

: seed : germ : sperm spermatheca spermicide

Examples of sperm in a Sentence

Noun The sperm fertilizes the egg.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In reality, a sperm's tail lashes on only one side. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Human sperm roll like 'playful otters' as they swim, study finds, contradicting centuries-old beliefs," 31 July 2020 This latest study sheds some intriguing light on precisely how this works for human sperm. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Human sperm swim more like otters than eels, study finds," 31 July 2020 This is where the American paddlefish comes into as the team used sperm from this fish to start the gynogenesis in the sturgeon. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Goofed and Accidentally Created a New Kind of Fish," 28 July 2020 During mating, the male beetle deposits a sack of sperm into the female’s reproductive tract, where the eggs are fertilized. National Geographic, "Bombardier beetles," 30 June 2020 The right chemical stimulus can cause a mammalian ovum in a lab, even a human one, to start dividing and producing an embryo without sperm. Quanta Magazine, "How to Breed a Pomsky and Other Questions About Dogs and Sex," 18 June 2020 Almost Family: one season Based on an Australian drama, this series—which followed an only child (Brittany Snow) who discovers her fertility doctor father used his own sperm to conceive dozens of children. Glamour, "Canceled TV Shows 2020: The Full List," 9 July 2020 For male offspring however, the sperm carries the rest of the chromosomes and the Y chromosome, which has about 100 million fewer base pairs than the X chromosome. Quanta Magazine, "How to Breed a Pomsky and Other Questions About Dogs and Sex," 18 June 2020 The original plan had been to use donor sperm to impregnate Candice. Molly Longman, refinery29.com, "The Hidden Costs Of Starting A Family When Queer," 15 June 2020

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sperm


Middle English, from Middle French esperme, sperme, from Late Latin spermat-, sperma, from Greek, literally, seed, from speirein to sow; probably akin to Armenian p'aratem I dispense

Combining form

Greek sperm-, spermo-, from sperma

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Time Traveler for sperm

Time Traveler

The first known use of sperm was in the 14th century

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Statistics for sperm

Last Updated

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sperm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sperm. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for sperm


How to pronounce sperm- (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sperm

: a cell that is produced by the male sexual organs and that combines with the female's egg in reproduction
: fluid that is produced by the male sexual organs which contains sperm cells


\ ˈspərm How to pronounce sperm (audio) \

Kids Definition of sperm


\ ˈspərm How to pronounce sperm (audio) \
plural sperm or sperms

Medical Definition of sperm

1 : the male impregnating fluid : semen
2 : a male gamete especially : spermatozoon

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More from Merriam-Webster on sperm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sperm

Spanish Central: Translation of sperm

Nglish: Translation of sperm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sperm for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sperm

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