Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Genetics The process of cell division in sexually reproducing organisms that reduces the number of chromosomes from diploid to haploid, as in the production of gametes.
  • noun Rhetorical understatement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Rhet.) Diminution; a species of hyperbole, representing a thing as being less than it really is; understatement; see also litotes.
  • noun (Cell Biology) The cellular process by which a diploid progenitor cell forms haploid gametes, including a division of one diploid cell into two cells, each with one of the homologous sets of chromosomes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable, rhetoric A figure of speech whereby something is made to seem smaller or less important than it actually is.
  • noun uncountable, cytology Cell division of a diploid cell into four haploid cells, which develop to produce gametes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary)
  • noun (genetics) cell division that produces reproductive cells in sexually reproducing organisms; the nucleus divides into four nuclei each containing half the chromosome number (leading to gametes in animals and spores in plants)

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Greek meiōsis, diminution, from meioun, to diminish, from meiōn, less; see mei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Modern Latin, from Ancient Greek μείωσις (meiōsis, "a lessening"), from μειόω (meioō, "I lessen"), from μείων (meiōn, "less").

Examples

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  • The moment of conception of a kitten.

    September 28, 2008