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[ov-yool, oh-vyool] /ˈɒv yul, ˈoʊ vyul/
  1. a rudimentary seed.
  2. the plant part that contains the embryo sac and hence the female germ cell, which after fertilization develops into a seed.
Biology. a small egg.
1820-30; < Latin ōvulum little egg. See ovum, -ule Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ovule
  • It grows through the ovary wall and reaches the ovule inside.
  • Other: prefers full sun, dark brown glossy fruit with light brown ovule or buckeye.
British Dictionary definitions for ovule


a small body in seed-bearing plants that consists of the integument(s), nucellus, and embryosac (containing the egg cell) and develops into the seed after fertilization
(zoology) an immature ovum
Derived Forms
ovular, adjective
Word Origin
C19: via French from Medieval Latin ōvulum a little egg, from Latin ōvum egg
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 ovule

1821, from French ovule and directly from Modern Latin ovulum, literally "small egg," diminutive of Latin ovum "egg" (see ovum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ovule in Medicine

ovule o·vule (ō'vyōōl, ŏv'yōōl)

  1. A small or immature ovum of a mammal.

  2. A small egglike structure. Also called ovulum.

o'vu·lar (ō'vyə-lər, ŏv'yə-) or o'vu·lar'y (-lěr'ē)
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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ovule in Science
  (ō'vyl, ŏv'yl)   
The female reproductive structure that develops into a seed in a seed-bearing plant. An ovule consists of a megasporangium surrounded by one or two layers of tissue called integuments. The megasporangium produces spores that develop into megagametophytes. These megagametophytes remain within the tissues of the ovule and produce one or more egg cells. Sperm from pollen grains enter the ovule through an opening called a micropyle and fertilize the egg cells. The resulting embryo then begins to develop within the ovule, which becomes a seed. Among the conifers and cycads, the ovules are typically found in pairs on scales in the female cones. The ovules of angiosperms are contained in a structure called the ovary within in the flower. See more at flower, gametophyte, megasporogenesis, pollination.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for ovule

plant structure that develops into a seed when fertilized. In gymnosperms (conifers and allies) the ovules lie uncovered on the scales of the cone. In angiosperms (flowering plants), one or more ovules are enclosed by the ovary (portion of the carpel, or female reproductive organ). Each ovule is attached by its base to the stalk (funiculus) that bears it. A mature angiosperm ovule consists of a food tissue covered by one or two future seed coats. A small opening (the micropyle) in the integuments at the apex of the ovule permits the pollen tube to enter and discharge its sperm nuclei into the embryo sac, a large oval cell in which fertilization and development occur. Variations in form and position of the ovule are significant in plant classification: orthotropous ovules stand out straight into the cavity of the ovary; campylotropous ovules are at right angles to the funiculus; anatropous ovules are directed back toward the funiculus. Intermediate forms also occur.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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