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

  • n. A chemical secreted by an animal, especially an insect, that influences the behavior or development of others of the same species, often functioning as an attractant of the opposite sex.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A chemical secreted by an animal, especially an insect that affects the development or behavior of other members of the same species, functioning often as a means of attracting a member of the opposite sex.

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

  • n. a chemical substance secreted externally by some animals (especially insects) that influences the physiology or behavior of other animals of the same species


Greek pherein, to carry; see bher-1 in Indo-European roots + (hor)mone.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From φέρω (phero, "I bring, bear, carry") and hormone. (Wiktionary)


  • Scientists have long believed that queen pheromones regulate caste development in social insects, but this finding is only the second such discovery in the past 50 years - when the term pheromone was coined by scientists. - latest science and technology news stories

  • It is more than 50 years since the term pheromone was proposed to label a category of chemical signals produced by one member of a species that elicit a definite response in another member of the same species.

    BioMed Central - Latest articles

  • It is 50 years since the term pheromone was coined, but the jury is still out as to whether there are genuinely human smells which can elicit the most primitive subconscious urges in those around us.

    Now Smell This

  • This "locator pheromone" is then smelled by local mosquitoes ready to lay eggs and will attract them inside.

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • The pheromone is a scent which mosquitoes naturally release in the wild when they find a good egg laying location.

    Archive 2005-10-01

  • The word pheromone originated from the Greek language from the words pherein "I carry" and hormon "I excite."

    Serendip's Exchange

  • I assume then that they’ve been exapted to assist in pheromone distribution (that is, the lipids evolved for waterproofing first, and then became co-opted during evolution for pheromone distribution), but I can’t determine this from Shine et al. (2002).

    Archive 2006-07-01

  • Male spiders of this south-American species incorporate a chemical known as a pheromone into their silk gift wrap. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph

  • In the spirit of facilitating self-organization, oishii is a kind of pheromone trail allowing me and others to find the resources other members of the hive found useful, interesting, humorous, or for some other reason worth visiting again.

    Boing Boing: July 17, 2005 - July 23, 2005 Archives

  • Non-volatile sexual "pheromone" found in mouse tears may play a role in close-range, face-to-face communication

    Nobel Prize Awarded for Discover of Bacteria that Cause Ulcers (and other science news)


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • This term was created in 1959 by two scientists to describe a chemical messenger released by the female silk worm moth to attract males.

    February 24, 2009