telo·​mere ˈte-lə-ˌmir How to pronounce telomere (audio) ˈtē- How to pronounce telomere (audio)
: the natural end of a eukaryotic chromosome composed of a usually repetitive DNA sequence and serving to stabilize the chromosome

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Telomeres, nucleotide sequences located at the ends of chromosomes, are believed to protect a chromosome’s integrity; a shortened telomere could compromise that function. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 27 Mar. 2013 Some scientists are trying to extend life by extending the telomere. Kirsten Weir, Discover Magazine, 12 June 2011 Each time a cell divides to drive growth and repair, its telomeres shorten. Simon Makin, Scientific American, 1 Apr. 2020 But extremely short and extremely long telomeres are seen as a predictor of cancer risk. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, 11 Apr. 2019 Telocyte’s gene therapy would aim to rebuild those glial telomeres. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, 14 Jan. 2020 A year in space caused DNA damage; gene expression changes; a thickening of the retina; thickening of Kelly's carotid artery; shifts in gut microbes; reduced cognitive abilities; and a structural change at the ends of chromosomes called telomeres. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 20 Dec. 2019 The first deviation was the length of telomeres on Scott's DNA grew shorter than expected and his gene expression also changed. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, 23 Oct. 2019 With every cell division, these protective telomeres grew shorter, hastening the plants’ inevitable genetic meltdown. Quanta Magazine, 5 Aug. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'telomere.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

1940, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of telomere was in 1940

Dictionary Entries Near telomere

Cite this Entry

“Telomere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

Medical Definition


: the natural end of a eukaryotic chromosome composed of a usually repetitive DNA sequence and serving to stabilize the chromosome
telomeric adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?