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[sap-ruh-fahyt] /ˈsæp rəˌfaɪt/
any organism that lives on dead organic matter, as certain fungi and bacteria.
Also called saprobe.
Origin of saprophyte
1870-75; sapro- + -phyte
Related forms
[sap-ruh-fit-ik] /ˌsæp rəˈfɪt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
saprophytically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for saprophytically
Historical Examples
  • They could not have made Bladesover they cannot replace it; they just happen to break out over it—saprophytically.

    Tono Bungay H. G. Wells
British Dictionary definitions for saprophytically


any plant that lives and feeds on dead organic matter using mycorrhizal fungi associated with its roots; a saprotrophic plant
Derived Forms
saprophytic (ˌsæprəʊˈfɪtɪk) adjective
saprophytically, adverb
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 saprophytically



"bacteria or fungus that grows on decaying organic matter," 1867, from French, from Greek sapros "putrid" + phyton "plant" (see phyto-). Related: Saprophytism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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saprophytically in Medicine

saprophyte sap·ro·phyte (sāp'rə-fīt')
An organism, especially a fungus or bacterium, that grows on and derives its nourishment from dead or decaying organic matter.

sap'ro·phyt'ic (-fĭt'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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saprophytically in Science
An organism, especially a fungus or bacterium, that lives on and gets its nourishment from dead organisms or decaying organic material. Saprophytes recycle organic material in the soil, breaking it down into in simpler compounds that can be taken up by other organisms.

saprophytic adjective (sāp'rə-fĭt'ĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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