follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

diatom

[dahy-uh-tuh m, -tom] /ˈdaɪ ə təm, -ˌtɒm/
noun
1.
any of numerous microscopic, unicellular, marine or freshwater algae of the phylum Chrysophyta, having cell walls containing silica.
Origin
1835-1845
1835-45; < Neo-Latin Diatoma originally a genus name, feminine noun based on Greek diátomos cut in two. See dia-, -tome
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for diatom
  • In the right conditions, the pressure of the sediment fill turns the diatom remains into petroleum.
British Dictionary definitions for diatom

diatom

/ˈdaɪətəm; -ˌtɒm/
noun
1.
any microscopic unicellular alga of the phylum Bacillariophyta, occurring in marine or fresh water singly or in colonies, each cell having a cell wall made of two halves and impregnated with silica See also diatomite
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin Diatoma (genus name), from Greek diatomos cut in two, from diatemnein to cut through, from dia- + temnein to cut
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for diatom
diatom
1845, coined from Gk. diatomos "cut in two," from diatemnein "to cut through," from dia- "through" + temnein "to cut." So called because they typically appear to have been cut in half. Related: Diatomic.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
diatom in Science
diatom
  (dī'ə-tŏm')   
Any of various microscopic protists of the phylum Bacillariophyta that live in both fresh and marine water, have hard bivalve shells (called frustules) composed mostly of silica, and often live in colonies. Most diatoms can perform photosynthesis. They make up a large portion of the marine plankton and are an important food source for many aquatic animals. The skeletal remains of diatoms are the main constituent of diatomite.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for diatom

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for diatom

9
10
Scrabble Words With Friends