\ 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 Evidence like sperm and a blood stain on top of a cinderblock wall near where Stitt's body was found were collected. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 10 Aug. 2022 Her egg was artificially inseminated by the sperm of her 63-year-old husband, Mauro, at a fertility clinic in Rome. Scott Lafee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 July 2022 Some medical and legal experts have proposed another type of end-run: creating one embryo at a time by storing sperm and eggs separately and thawing them only to create individual embryos as needed. New York Times, 5 July 2022 But the process of ensuring the sperm is washed out can take up to three months for some patients, Werthman said. Meena Venkataramanan, Washington Post, 1 July 2022 And Cisco offers full-time employees in the US and Canada up to a $50,000 lifetime maximum reimbursement for family planning expenses such as IVF and harvesting, freezing or storage for eggs, sperm and embryos. Kathryn Vasel, CNN, 24 Aug. 2022 Our situation is that an uncle who was an OB/GYN donated sperm to a bank many times throughout his career. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 Alper studied 181,800 cases looking for mistakes from small ones — like misspellings and typos — to extreme errors such as mixing up eggs, sperm or embryos. Wendy Grossman Kantor, PEOPLE.com, 24 Nov. 2021 After all, the chances of the precise sperm colliding with the exact egg in the right fallopian tube and convening to make you—or me—are so low as to be undetectable with human mathematics. Wired, 9 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

14 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sperm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sperm. Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for sperm


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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