su·​per·​or·​gan·​ism | \ ˌsü-pər-ˈȯr-gə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce superorganism (audio) \

Definition of superorganism

: an organized society (as of a social insect) that functions as an organic whole

Examples of superorganism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The human body is actually a superorganism teeming with bacteria, fungi and hundreds of trillions of viruses. Laura Helmuth, Scientific American, "Sharing the Human Side of Science," 23 Nov. 2020 Their study, carried out over the course of nine days, proved that the stump under scrutiny was still a participating member of the local superorganism. The Economist, "Tree stumps can live on indefinitely...," 25 July 2019 Trees can clone themselves into 80,000-year-old superorganisms. Ellie Shechet, New York Times, "Do Plants Have Something to Say?," 28 Aug. 2019 Such subterranean junctions permit exchange between individual trees of food, water, minerals and even micro-organisms, to create what some regard as a superorganism. The Economist, "Tree stumps can live on indefinitely...," 25 July 2019 No other bee takes division of labor to such an extreme, with colonies comprising one queen and tens of thousands of workers thrumming along in perfect synchrony—a superorganism. Lucas Foglia, National Geographic, "Beekeepers hit hard by thefts of hives," 3 May 2019 The colony is a well-oiled superorganism, similar to ant and termite colonies. National Geographic, "How honeybees get their jobs—explained," 22 Mar. 2019 Slime mold is sometimes called a superorganism: an organism made up of organisms. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Trump doesn’t have a science adviser. This slime mold is available.," 5 Apr. 2018 The first theme centers on superorganisms, animals such as ants and bees that act in cohesion as a single organism. Grace Dickinson,, "17 gigantic bugs have crawled into the Academy of Natural Sciences for 'Xtreme Bugs' exhibit," 22 May 2018

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

circa 1899, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of superorganism was circa 1899

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Cite this Entry

“Superorganism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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