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

  • noun The mature female gamete of an animal; an egg.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An egg, in a broad biological sense; the proper product of an ovary; the female germ or seed, which when fertilized by the male sperm, and sometimes without such fecundation, is capable of developing into an individual like the parent.
  • noun [capitalized] In conchology, same as Ovulum.
  • noun [capitalized] In ichthyology, a genus of fishes.
  • noun In architecture, an ornament in the shape of an egg.

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

  • noun (Biol.) A more or less spherical and transparent cell, which by a process of multiplication and growth develops into a mass of cells, constituting a new individual like the parent; an egg, spore, germ, or germ cell. See Illust. of mycropyle.
  • noun (Arch.) One of the series of egg-shaped ornaments into which the ovolo is often carved.

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

  • noun cytology The female gamete in animals; the egg cell.

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

  • noun the female reproductive cell; the female gamete


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

[Latin ōvum, egg; see awi- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin ōvum ("egg").


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  • The first stage in the development of any animal is the tiny speck of plasm, hardly visible to the naked eye, which we call the ovum, or egg-cell.

    The World's Greatest Books — Volume 15 — Science Various 1909

  • You and Marshall have a legitimate dispute as to whether an unimplanted but fertilized ovum is a human being deserving equal protection of law.

    Del. Marshall Wants Birth Control Debate at 2003

  • Basically, this means that ethical concerns about "destroying an embryo" for raw stem cell materials are obviated, since a parthenogenic ovum is not viable -- and furthermore, the elimination of an unfertilized egg every 28 days or so is noncontroversial, so presumbaly "rescuing" eggs before they're flushed will be similarily morally unambiguous.

    Boing Boing: January 27, 2002 - February 2, 2002 Archives 2002

  • For Harvey, as every student of his works knows, believed in equivocal generation; and, in the sense in which he uses the word ovum,

    Freie wissenschaft und freie lehr. English Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel 1876

  • Man is developed from a small cell called the ovum or ovule, about the 120th of an inch in diameter, which differs in no apparent respect from the ovules from which other animals grow.

    Haeckel on gastrulation - The Panda's Thumb 2006

  • For in all these animals the head is central, but in the sea-urchin the so-called ovum is above [and symmetrical, while in the oyster it is only one side].

    On the Parts of Animals 2002

  • This mecon in the turbinated genera is lodged in the spiral part of the shell, while in univalves, such as limpets, it occupies the fundus, and in bivalves is placed near the hinge, the so-called ovum lying on the right; while on the opposite side is the vent.

    On the Parts of Animals 2002

  • The former is incorrectly termed ovum, for it merely corresponds to what in well-fed sanguineous animals is fat; and thus it is that it makes its appearance in Testacea at those seasons of the year when they are in good condition, namely, spring and autumn.

    On the Parts of Animals 2002

  • Oysters also have a so-called ovum, corresponding in character to that of the sea-urchins, but existing only on one side of their body.

    On the Parts of Animals 2002

  • (In animals the female reproductive cell is called ovum, plural ova.)

    Chapter 5 1976


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