\ 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 Once back on Earth, the space-faring sperm were rehydrated. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 July 2021 Return shipping on the sperm is included and doesn’t cost any extra. refinery29.com, 1 July 2021 One doctor in Indiana is accused of fathering as many as 50 kids with his own sperm, while another Las Vegas obstetrician is tied to at least 26 similar cases. Washington Post, 26 May 2021 Using robotics, biochips, and A.I. technology, the machine would perform the same functions as a human embryologist—select sperm and eggs to create embryos and then genetically test them—with greater accuracy and at a fraction of the cost. Anna Louie Sussman, The New Yorker, 19 May 2021 Embryonic stem cells are the first cells to form after a sperm fertilizes an egg, and are the ultimate seed with the most potential to turn into other cells. AZCentral.com, 9 June 2021 While the male donor lives at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Texas, and the female donor lives in Columbus, scientists were still able to freeze the sperm and transfer it for the process. Nadine Daher, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Feb. 2020 Software algorithms then analyze the video to count the sperm and assess their movement. Andrea Marks, Scientific American, 22 Mar. 2017 The cell is from a hydatidiform mole, a kind of reproductive growth that represents an extremely early, unviable union between a sperm and an egg cell that has no nucleus. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 3 June 2021

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

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

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Last Updated

16 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sperm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sperm. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for sperm



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

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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