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Glossary of Biological Terms
beginning with letter A
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abiogenesis Tweet Definition of abiogenesis Like Definition of abiogenesis on Facebook
  1. (biology) The supposed origination of living organisms from lifeless matter; such genesis as does not involve the action of living parents; spontaneous generation; " called also abiogeny, and opposed to biogenesis
  • I shall call the ... doctrine that living matter may be produced by not living matter, the hypothesis of " Huxley, 1870
actinomorphic Tweet Definition of actinomorphic Like Definition of actinomorphic on Facebook
  1. (botany) (i, of a flower) Having its petals arranged in a radially symmetric fashion.
adaptive radiation Tweet Definition of adaptive radiation Like Definition of adaptive radiation on Facebook
  1. (biology) the diversification of species into separate forms that each adapt to occupy a specific environmental niche
adherent Tweet Definition of adherent Like Definition of adherent on Facebook
  1. A person who has membership in some group, association or religion.
  1. adhesive, that sticks to something
  2. that has the quality of clinging or sticking fast to something
adnate Tweet Definition of adnate Like Definition of adnate on Facebook
  1. (botany, or, mycology) Link, linked or fused to something unlike itself, for example where mushroom gills are attached to the stalk slightly above the bottom of the gill.
affinity Tweet Definition of affinity Like Definition of affinity on Facebook
noun (affinities)
  1. A family relationship through marriage of a relative, as opposed to consanguinity. (e.g. sister-in-law).
  2. A kinsman or kinswoman of such relationship. Affinal kinsman or kinswoman.
  3. Any romantic relationship.
  4. Any passionate love for something.
  5. (chemistry) An attractive force between atoms, or groups of atoms, that contributes towards their forming bonds
    1. The attraction between an antibody and an antigen
ALA Tweet Definition of ALA Like Definition of ALA on Facebook
  1. Alpha Linolenic Acid
  2. American Library Association
  3. Acacia Leadership Academy
alar Tweet Definition of alar Like Definition of alar on Facebook
  1. A growth-regulating chemical sprayed on fruit trees; entire crop can be harvested at one time; daminozide
  1. (anatomy) of or relating to the armpit; axillary
  2. Having, resembling, or composed of wings or alae
albino Tweet Definition of albino Like Definition of albino on Facebook
noun (pl=albinos, pl2=albinoes)
  1. (countable) person or animal congenitally lacking melanin pigmentation in the skin, eyes, and hair or feathers (or more rarely only in the eyes); one born with albinism
  1. congenitally lacking melanin pigmentation in the skin, eyes, and hair or feathers (or more rarely only in the eyes); born with albinism
allometry Tweet Definition of allometry Like Definition of allometry on Facebook
  1. The science studying the differential growth rates of the parts of a living organism's body part or process.
Ally Tweet Definition of Ally Like Definition of Ally on Facebook
proper noun 
  1. A diminutive of the female given name Alison.
alveolate Tweet Definition of alveolate Like Definition of alveolate on Facebook
  1. (biology) A grouping of protists comprising the ciliates, sporozoa and dinoflagellates
  1. Having a structure containing honeycomb-like cavities
ameboid Tweet Definition of ameboid Like Definition of ameboid on Facebook
  1. Resembling an amoebae.
amorphous Tweet Definition of amorphous Like Definition of amorphous on Facebook
  1. lacking a definite form or clear shape
The enormous pile of spaghetti landed in an amorphous heap on the floor.
  1. being without definite character or nature
  2. lacking organization or unity
  3. (physics) A state of solid that is not in crystal and its regular structure is crystal.
analogous Tweet Definition of analogous Like Definition of analogous on Facebook
  1. Having analogy; corresponding to something else; bearing some resemblance or proportion;—often followed by to.
    • Analogous tendencies in arts and manners. --De Quincey.
    • Decay of public spirit, which may be considered to natural death. --J. H. Newman.
analogue Tweet Definition of analogue Like Definition of analogue on Facebook
  1. (countable) Something that bears an analogy to something else.
  2. (countable) (Biology) An organ or structure that is similar in function to one in another kind of organism but is of dissimilar evolutionary origin.
  3. (chemistry) A structural derivative of a parent compound that often differs from it by a single element.
  1. (notcomparable) (Of a device or system) in which the value of a data item (such as time) is represented by a continuously variable physical quantity that can be measured (such as the shadow of a sundial)
analogy Tweet Definition of analogy Like Definition of analogy on Facebook
noun (analogi, es)
  1. The use of a similar example or model to explain or extrapolate from.
The birthing class instructor used a balloon and a ping-pong ball as an for the baby in the womb.
Many use the Gospels' of a mustard seed growing into a huge plant to explain faith.
anastomosis Tweet Definition of anastomosis Like Definition of anastomosis on Facebook
  1. a cross-connection between two blood-vessels
  2. an interconnection between any two channels, passages or vessels
  • 1922: (...) our grandam, which we are linked up with by successive of navelcords sold us all, seed, breed and generation, for a penny pippin. (Joyce, Ulysses)
    1. (medicine) the surgical creation of a connecting passage between blood-vessels or other channels
anatomy Tweet Definition of anatomy Like Definition of anatomy on Facebook
noun (anatomies)
  1. The art of dissecting, or artificially separating the different parts of any organized body, to discover their situation, structure, and economy; dissection.
  2. The science that deals with the form and structure of organic bodies; anatomical structure or organization.
Let the muscles be well inserted and bound together, according to the knowledge of them which is given us by anatomy. --Dryden.
Animal anatomy is also called zomy or zootomy; vegetable anatomy, phytotomy; and human anatomy, anthropotomy.
Comparative anatomy compares the structure of different kinds and classes of animals.
  1. A treatise or book on anatomy.
  2. The act of dividing anything, corporeal or intellectual, for the purpose of examining its parts; analysis; as, the anatomy of a discourse.
  3. A skeleton; anything anatomized or dissected, or which has the appearance of being so.
ancestor Tweet Definition of ancestor Like Definition of ancestor on Facebook
noun (female ancestress)
  1. One from whom a person is descended, whether on the father's or mother's side, at any distance of time; a progenitor; a fore father.
  2. (Biology) An earlier type; a progenitor
This fossil animal is regarded as the ancestor of the horse.
  1. (Law) One from whom an estate has descended;—the correlative of heir.
animal Tweet Definition of animal Like Definition of animal on Facebook
  1. In scientific usage, a multicellular organism that is usually mobile, whose cells are not encased in a rigid cell wall (distinguishing it from plants and fungi) and which derives energy solely from the consumption of other organisms (distinguishing it from plants).
A cat is an , not a plant.
Evolutionary biologists say humans are also animals.
  1. In non-scientific usage, any member of the kingdom Animalia other than a human being.
  2. In non-scientific usage, any land-living vertebrate (i.e. not birds, fishes, insects etc)
  3. (figuratively) A person who behaves wildly.
My students are animals.
  1. Pertaining to the spirit or soul; relating to sensation or innervation.
    • 2003: To explain what activated the flesh, " spirits" were posited, superfine fluids which shuttled between the mind and the vitals, conveying messages and motion. " Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason (Penguin 2004, p. 47)
      1. Of or relating to animals.
      animal instincts
      1. Raw, base, unhindered by social codes.
      animal passions
      1. (context, slang, Ireland) Excellent.
annulus Tweet Definition of annulus Like Definition of annulus on Facebook
  1. A ring- or donut-shaped area or structure.
  2. In mathematics, the region between two concentric circles of different radius.
  3. In astronomy, the ring of the sun not covered by the moon in an annular eclipse, annular solar eclipse.
areola Tweet Definition of areola Like Definition of areola on Facebook
noun (pl2=areolae, pl3=areoles)
  1. (anatomy) the colored circle around a nipple, or around the pupil of the eye
ARM Tweet Definition of ARM Like Definition of ARM on Facebook
  1. accelerated reply mail: a service of the United States Postal Service
  2. adjustable rate mortgage
artifact Tweet Definition of artifact Like Definition of artifact on Facebook
  1. An object made by human hand or shaped by it.
  2. An object, such as a tool, weapon or ornament, of archaeological or historical interest, esp. such an object found at an archaeological excavation.
    • The dig produced many Roman artifacts.
      1. Something viewed as a product of human conception or agency rather than an inherent element.
    • "The very act of looking at a naked model was an of male supremacy" (Philip Weiss).
      Ref: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 8 March 2007.
      1. A structure or finding in an experiment or investigation that is not a true feature of the object under observation, but is a result of external action, the test arrangement, or an experimental error.
    • The spot on his lung turned out to be an of the X-ray process.
artificial Tweet Definition of artificial Like Definition of artificial on Facebook
  1. Man-made; of artifice.
The flowers were artificial, and he thought them rather tacky.
  1. False, misleading.
Her manner was somewhat artificial.
  1. Unnatural.
astral Tweet Definition of astral Like Definition of astral on Facebook
  1. Relating to or resembling the stars.
  2. (theosophy) Relating to a supposed supersensible substance taking the form of an aura discernible to certain gifted individuals.
atavism Tweet Definition of atavism Like Definition of atavism on Facebook
  1. the reappearance of an ancestral characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence. Often also refered to as a throwback.
  2. the recurrence or reversion to a past behaviour, method, characteristic or style after a long period of absence.
atavistic Tweet Definition of atavistic Like Definition of atavistic on Facebook
  1. Pertaining to atavists.
azygous Tweet Definition of azygous Like Definition of azygous on Facebook
  1. odd; having no fellow; not one of a pair; single; as, the azygous muscle of the uvula.

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