sym·​bi·​ot·​ic | \ ˌsim-bē-ˈä-tik \

Definition of symbiotic

: relating to or marked by symbiosis:
a : characterized by, living in, or being a close physical association (as in mutualism or commensalism) between two or more dissimilar organisms The truffle is a … fungus that forms a symbiotic relationship with its host tree.— Robb Walsh Termites harbor diverse symbiotic gut microorganisms, the majority of which are as yet uncultivable and their interrelationships unclear.— Yuichi Hongoh et al.
b : characterized by or being a close, cooperative, or interdependent relationship Today, art advisers are as diverse as the clients they help. They often work alone and form intimate, symbiotic relationships with the people they serve.— Deborah Gimelson Sigal's study … illustrates how reporters' constant need for news and how government officials' need for publicity and favorable coverage for their agencies combine into a symbiotic relationship between Washington reporters and officials.— Charles R. Wright

Other Words from symbiotic

symbiotically \ ˌsim-​bē-​ˈä-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb
Some species of clams … live symbiotically with sulfur-loving bacteria: the bacteria, which live on the clams' gills, get sulfide from the clams, and the clams, in turn, feed on the bacteria. Natural History The irony is that the Pentagon and the Soviet Defense Ministry prosper symbiotically. — Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

First Known Use of symbiotic

1875, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for symbiotic

symbi(osis) + -otic entry 1, probably after German symbiotisch

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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The first known use of symbiotic was in 1875

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More Definitions for symbiotic


sym·​bi·​ot·​ic | \ ˌsim-ˌbī-ˈät-ik , -bē- \
variants: also symbiotical \ -​i-​kəl \

Medical Definition of symbiotic

: relating to, characterized by, living in, or resulting from a state of symbiosis

Other Words from symbiotic

symbiotically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on symbiotic

Nglish: Translation of symbiotic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of symbiotic for Arabic Speakers

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