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[het-er-uh-jee-nee-uh s, -jeen-yuh s] /ˌhɛt ər əˈdʒi ni əs, -ˈdʒin yəs/
different in kind; unlike; incongruous.
composed of parts of different kinds; having widely dissimilar elements or constituents:
The party was attended by a heterogeneous group of artists, politicians, and social climbers.
Chemistry. (of a mixture) composed of different substances or the same substance in different phases, as solid ice and liquid water.
1615-25; < Medieval Latin heterogeneus < Greek heterogenḗs. See hetero-, gene, -ous
Related forms
heterogeneously, adverb
heterogeneousness, noun
Can be confused
heterogeneous, heterogenous, homogeneous, homogenous.
2. varied, diverse.
2. homogeneous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for heterogeneous
  • Materials themselves can be classified into the homogeneous and the heterogeneous.
  • The heterogeneous composition of animal studies is reflected in the content of the books.
  • This is a heterogeneous condition with many potential components.
  • The rock itself is temperamental —heterogeneous, soft, and in some places already cracked.
  • Many of the booths are like small antiques shops, crammed with heterogeneous goodies.
  • As the college educated group became a larger share of the labour force, it also became more heterogeneous.
  • Our bodies are half made up of glands and tubes and organs, occupied in turning heterogeneous food into blood.
  • Many have contributed to the heterogeneous fabric of the American idea.
  • This is important because we live in a faster-moving, more heterogeneous world.
  • The pattern is heterogeneous and nonuniform.
British Dictionary definitions for heterogeneous


composed of unrelated or differing parts or elements
not of the same kind or type
(chem) of, composed of, or concerned with two or more different phases Compare homogeneous
Derived Forms
heterogeneity (ˌhɛtərəʊdʒɪˈniːɪtɪ), heterogeneousness, noun
heterogeneously, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin heterogeneus, from Greek heterogenēs, from hetero- + genos sort
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 heterogeneous

1620s, from Medieval Latin heterogeneus, from Greek heterogenes, from heteros "different" (see hetero-) + genos "kind, gender, race stock" (see genus). Earlier in same sense was heterogeneal (c.1600).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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heterogeneous in Medicine

heterogeneous het·er·o·ge·ne·ous (hět'ər-ə-jē'nē-əs, -jēn'yəs)
Composed of parts having dissimilar characteristics or properties.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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heterogeneous in Technology

Composed of unrelated parts, different in kind.
Often used in the context of distributed systems that may be running different operating systems or network protocols (a heterogeneous network).
For examples see: interoperable database, middleware.
Constrast homogeneous.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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