sym·​bi·​ot·​ic ˌsim-bē-ˈä-tik How to pronounce symbiotic (audio)
: relating to or marked by symbiosis:
: 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.
: 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
symbiotically 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.

Examples of symbiotic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tesla and China built a symbiotic relationship that made Musk ultrarich. Christina Jewett, New York Times, 22 May 2024 In fact, the generation of wealth was a result of a symbiotic relationship between the emerging industrial labor market and innovative industrialists. Jacob Swartz, Orange County Register, 14 May 2024 Starting in the Eighties, Butch Vig and Steve Albini, who died Tuesday at 61, had one of the most interesting symbiotic relationships in indie rock. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 9 May 2024 Watches and Formula 1 have long enjoyed something of a symbiotic relationship, with partnerships dating back to the ‘70s, and more organic ties dating back much further still. Blake Buettner, Robb Report, 8 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for symbiotic 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'symbiotic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1875, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of symbiotic was in 1875

Dictionary Entries Near symbiotic

Cite this Entry

“Symbiotic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition


sym·​bi·​ot·​ic ˌsim-ˌbī-ˈät-ik How to pronounce symbiotic (audio) -bē- How to pronounce symbiotic (audio)
variants also symbiotical
: relating to, characterized by, living in, or resulting from a state of symbiosis
symbiotically adverb
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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