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polymorph

[pol-ee-mawrf] /ˈpɒl iˌmɔrf/
noun
1.
Biology. an organism having more than one adult form, as the different castes in social ants.
2.
Crystallography. any of the crystal forms assumed by a substance that exhibits polymorphism.
3.
Anatomy, granulocyte.
Origin
1820-1830
1820-30; < Greek polýmorphos; see poly-, -morph
Related forms
polymorphic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for polymorphic
  • Behavior, because it's so complicated to orchestrate, is polymorphic-it requires the action of many genes in concert.
  • These genes are involved in immune response, and are extremely polymorphic.
British Dictionary definitions for polymorphic

polymorphous

/ˌpɒlɪˈmɔːfəs/
adjective
1.
having, taking, or passing through many different forms or stages
2.
(of a substance) exhibiting polymorphism
3.
(of an animal or plant) displaying or undergoing polymorphism

polymorph

/ˈpɒlɪˌmɔːf/
noun
1.
a species of animal or plant that exhibits polymorphism
2.
any of the crystalline forms of a chemical compound that exhibits polymorphism
3.
Also called polymorphonuclear leucocyte. any of a group of white blood cells that have lobed nuclei and granular cytoplasm and function as phagocytes; they include neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils
Word Origin
C19: from Greek polumorphos having many forms
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for polymorphic

polymorph

n.

"organism of several forms," 1828, from Greek polymorphos "of many forms" (see polymorphous).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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polymorphic in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Encyclopedia Article for polymorphic

polymorph

in crystallography, the condition in which a solid chemical compound exists in more than one crystalline form; the forms differ somewhat in physical and, sometimes, chemical properties, although their solutions and vapours are identical. The existence of different crystalline or molecular forms of elements is called allotropy, although it has been suggested that the meaning of allotropy should be restricted to different molecular forms of an element, such as oxygen (O2) and ozone (O3), and that polymorphism be applied to different crystalline forms of the same species, whether a compound or an element. Differences in the crystalline forms of many elements and compounds were discovered during the 1820s by Eilhardt Mitscherlich, a German chemist.

Learn more about polymorph with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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