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[gam-eet, guh-meet] /ˈgæm it, gəˈmit/
noun, Biology
a mature sexual reproductive cell, as a sperm or egg, that unites with another cell to form a new organism.
1885-90; < New Latin gameta < Greek gamet- (stem of gametḗ wife, gamétēs husband), derivative of gameîn to marry
Related forms
[guh-met-ik] /gəˈmɛt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
[guh-meet-l] /gəˈmit l/ (Show IPA),
gametically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gametes
  • The problem for people who have conceived with donor gametes is that they know it's not true.
  • Instead of making gametes with only one copy of each chromosome, they created ones with two or more, a state called polyploidy.
  • There they break apart and form a coral slick: a cloud of jostling gametes, all looking for a mate.
  • Early plants, for example, still needed to let their gametes swim to each other in standing water.
  • All they had to do was release their gametes into the water.
  • The first is meiosis, in which the haploid gametes are generated from diploid precursors.
British Dictionary definitions for gametes


/ˈɡæmiːt; ɡəˈmiːt/
a haploid germ cell, such as a spermatozoon or ovum, that fuses with another germ cell during fertilization
Derived Forms
gametal, gametic (ɡəˈmɛtɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin, from Greek gametē wife, from gamos marriage
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
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Word Origin and History for gametes



"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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gametes in Medicine

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.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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gametes in Science
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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gametes in Culture

gamete definition

A reproductive cell having a single set of chromosomes, especially a mature sperm or egg.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for gametes


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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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