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

  • adjective Zoology Giving birth to living offspring that develop within the mother's body. Most mammals and some other animals are viviparous.
  • adjective Germinating or producing seeds that germinate before becoming detached from the parent plant, as in the mangrove.
  • adjective Producing bulbils or new plants rather than seed, as in the tiger lily.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Bringing forth alive; having young which maintain vascular vital connection with the body of the parent until they are born in a comparatively advanced stage of development; reproducing by birth, not by hatching from an egg which is laid and afterward incubated: correlated with oviparous and ovoviviparous. See these words, and egg.
  • In botany, germinating or sprouting from a seed or bud which is still on the parent plant.

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

  • adjective (Biol.) Producing young in a living state, as most mammals, or as those plants the offspring of which are produced alive, either by bulbs instead of seeds, or by the seeds themselves germinating on the plant, instead of falling, as they usually do; -- opposed to oviparous.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) See Embiotocoid.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) any one of numerous species of operculated fresh-water gastropods belonging to Viviparus, Melantho, and allied genera. Their young, when born, have a well-developed spiral shell.

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

  • adjective of an animal or animal species Being born alive, as are most mammals, some reptiles, and a few fish (as opposed to being laid as an egg and subsequently hatching, as do most birds and many other species).
  • adjective of a plant or plant species Arising from an embryo that develops from the outset (rather than from a true seed that then germinates).

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

  • adjective producing living young (not eggs)


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

[From Latin vīviparus : vīvus, alive; see gwei- in Indo-European roots + -parus, -parous.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin vīviparus, from vīvus ("alive") + pariō ("give birth").



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  • webster's (1828) makes this keen observation: " distinguished from oviparous, producing eggs, as fowls. if fowls were viviparous, it is difficult to think how the female would fly during preganancy."

    July 26, 2008

  • Whatever about their viviparity or lack thereof, it appears that fowls were plural back in 1828. Is this still true?

    In Italian, it appears that fowls are volatile.

    Do those folks at Webster's exclude the possibility of passenger aircraft that stay aloft as well?

    July 26, 2008