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"sexual protoplasmic body," 1880, coined 1878 by German cytologist Eduard Strasburger (1844-1912), the widespread attribution to Mendel being apparently erroneous; from Greek gamete "a wife," gametes "a husband," from gamein "to take to wife, to marry," from PIE root *gem(e)- "to marry" (cf. Greek gambros "son-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law;" Sanskrit jamih "brother, sister," jama daughter-in-law;" Avestan zama-tar "son-in-law;" Latin gener "son-in-law"). Cf. also -gamy. The seventh month of the ancient Attic calendar (corresponding to late January and early February) was Gamelion, "Month of Marriages."
gamete gam·ete (gām'ēt', gə-mēt')
A reproductive cell having the haploid number of chromosomes, especially a sperm or egg capable of fusing with a gamete of the opposite sex to produce a fertilized egg.
A cell whose nucleus unites with that of another cell to form a new organism. A gamete contains only a single (haploid) set of chromosomes. Animal egg and sperm cells, the nuclei carried in grains of pollen, and egg cells in plant ovules are all gametes. Also called germ cell, reproductive cell, sex cell. See Note at mitosis.
sex, or reproductive, cell containing only one set of dissimilar chromosomes, or half of the genetic material necessary to form a complete organism (i.e., haploid). During fertilization, male and female gametes fuse, producing a diploid (i.e., containing paired chromosomes) zygote. Gametes may be identical in form (isogamy), as in the black mold (Rhizopus), or there may be more than one morphological type (heterogamy), as with many green algae of the genus Chlamydomonas. Gametes of animals, some algae and fungi, and all higher plants exhibit an advanced form of heterogamy called oogamy. In oogamy, one of the gametes is small and motile (the sperm), and the other is large and nonmotile (the egg). See also egg; sperm.