tro·​phic | \ ˈtrō-fik How to pronounce trophic (audio) \

Definition of trophic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to nutrition : nutritional trophic disorders
3 : promoting cellular growth, differentiation, and survival

Definition of -trophic (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or characterized by (such) nutrition ectotrophic
b : requiring or utilizing (such) a kind of nutrition heterotrophic
2 : -tropic sense 2 gonadotrophic

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Other Words from trophic


trophically \ ˈtrō-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce trophically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of trophic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective His research focuses on trophic cascade, which is the domino effect of habitat loss and ecological crisis caused by changes in the numbers of predators and prey within a food chain. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "11,000+ Scientists Declare Climate Emergency," 5 Nov. 2019 Interestingly, the trophic position varied among families, ranging from just a bit above herbivores (2.11) to solid carnivores (3.09). Paige Embry, Scientific American, "Surprise: Bees Need Meat," 23 Aug. 2019 In biological circles, this ecological ripple effect is known as a trophic cascade. Brent Crane, Discover Magazine, "Grizzly Bears Might Return to California. Is the State Ready?," 12 Mar. 2019 As discriminating hunters of their territories’ stragglers, wolves actually keep herds healthy, and structure food webs with wide-reaching ripple effects, called trophic cascades. Josh Adler, National Geographic, "Making peace in the Golan Heights—between humans and wolves," 11 Apr. 2019 The effect is known as a trophic cascade, in which the removal of a key species has ripple effects throughout the ecosystem. Steve Winter, National Geographic, "How City-Dwelling Leopards Improve Human Health," 9 Mar. 2018 There has been a lot of research done on how removing predators can cause a trophic cascade that can result in a collapse of a system. Jacqueline Cutler, USA TODAY, "Why the cheetah population is shrinking," 12 Dec. 2017 This is, in effect, a trophic shift—the length of the species’ food chain has changed. Wendy Mitman Clarke, Smithsonian, "Bones of the Hawaiian Petrel Open Up a Window Into the Birds’ Changing Diet," 26 Apr. 2017 This shift has created a trophic mismatch, meaning plants bloom earlier, and insects that eat the plants emerge earlier, while the red knot chicks that eat the insects are hatching too late to feed on them at their peak. National Geographic, "Arctic Warming Is Shrinking This Adorable Shorebird," 12 May 2016

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


1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for trophic


French trophique, from Greek trophikos, from trophē nourishment, from trephein to nourish

Adjective combining form

New Latin -trophia -trophy

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Time Traveler for trophic

Time Traveler

The first known use of trophic was in 1845

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Cite this Entry

“Trophic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for trophic


tro·​phic | \ ˈtrō-fik How to pronounce trophic (audio) \

Medical Definition of trophic

1 : of or relating to nutrition : nutritional trophic disorders
2 : tropic
3 : promoting cellular growth, differentiation, and survival nerve growth factor is a trophic agent

Other Words from trophic

trophically \ -​fi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce trophically (audio) \ adverb

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