tro·​phic | \ ˈtrō-fik \

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 \ adverb

Examples of trophic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 This indicated that the birds’ food chain had become shorter; somewhere in the birds’ food chain, animals were eating at a lower trophic level. Wendy Mitman Clarke, Smithsonian, "Bones of the Hawaiian Petrel Open Up a Window Into the Birds’ Changing Diet," 26 Apr. 2017 Their gradual reestablishment triggered a trophic cascade much like the reintroduction of the Yellowstone wolves had, but for different reasons. Brian Switek, WIRED, "Restoring Missing Lynx – The Rejuvenation of an Ecosystem," 14 June 2010 Some experts, however, aren’t so sure that a trophic cascade is at work here. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Is Australia’s Dingo-Proof Fence Changing the Ecosystem of the Outback?," 15 May 2017 But normally, these records only cover two trophic levels. National Geographic, "Amazing ‘Nesting Doll’ Fossil Reveals Bug in Lizard in Snake," 7 Sep. 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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Dictionary Entries near trophic






trophic level


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Time Traveler for trophic

The first known use of trophic was in 1845

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More Definitions for trophic


tro·​phic | \ ˈtrō-fik \

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 \ adverb

Comments on trophic

What made you want to look up trophic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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