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[spawr, spohr] /spɔr, spoʊr/
Biology. a walled, single- to many-celled, reproductive body of an organism, capable of giving rise to a new individual either directly or indirectly.
a germ, germ cell, seed, or the like.
verb (used without object), spored, sporing.
to bear or produce spores.
1830-40; < New Latin spora < Greek sporá sowing, seed, akin to speírein to sow; see sperm1
Related forms
sporal, adjective
sporoid, adjective
intersporal, adjective


variant of sporo-, as final element of compound words:
teliospore. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spore
  • Topics will also include mushroom cultivation, and how to make spore prints to identify mushroom species.
  • All it would take is for a single spore, barely bigger than a red blood cell, to latch onto the shirt of an oblivious traveler.
  • But new research suggests that there is one key determinant in how deadly a fungal infection is going to be: spore size.
  • The spore coat modification argues strongly against the use of solid particles during the treatment process.
  • Clostridium botulinum is a spore-forming organism that is common in nature.
  • Place one on a piece of colored paper overnight and you'll find a white spore print the next day.
  • In some cases, moving out of a home with a mold spore problem may be necessary.
  • Which actually brings up such basic organisms that can hibernate or enter some kind of spore state.
  • Tucker:Anthrax is a bacterium, but when it's exposed to air, it forms a spore resembling a seed.
  • To make a spore print, cut the stem off the mushroom and place the cap gill-side or pore-side down on a piece of white paper.
British Dictionary definitions for spore


a reproductive body, produced by bacteria, fungi, various plants, and some protozoans, that develops into a new individual. A sexual spore is formed after the fusion of gametes and an asexual spore is the result of asexual reproduction
a germ cell, seed, dormant bacterium, or similar body
(intransitive) to produce, carry, or release spores
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin spora, from Greek: a sowing; related to Greek speirein to sow
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 spore

1836, from Modern Latin spora, from Greek spora "seed, a sowing," related to sporos "sowing," and speirein "to sow," from PIE *sper- "to strew" (see sprout (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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spore in Medicine

spore (spôr)

  1. A small, usually single-celled asexual or sexual reproductive body that is highly resistant to desiccation and heat and is capable of growing into a new organism, produced especially by certain bacteria, fungi, algae, and nonflowering plants.

  2. A dormant, nonreproductive body formed by certain bacteria in response to adverse environmental conditions.

spo·ra'ceous (spə-rā'shəs, spô-) 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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spore in Science
  1. A usually one-celled reproductive body that can grow into a new organism without uniting with another cell. Spores are haploid (having only a single set of chromosomes). Fungi, algae, seedless plants, and certain protozoans reproduce asexually by spores. Plant spores that are dispersed by the wind have walls containing sporopollenin.

  2. See more at alternation of generations.

  3. A similar one-celled body in seed-bearing plants; the macrospore or microspore. The macrospore of seed-bearing plants develops into a female gametophyte or megagametophyte, which is contained within the ovule and eventually produces the egg cells. (The megagametophyte is also called the embryo sac in angiosperms.) The microspore of seed-bearing plants develops into the male microgametophyte or pollen grain. See endospore.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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spore in Culture

spore definition

A reproductive cell or group of cells, produced by some plants, that is capable of developing into an adult plant without combining with another reproductive cell. Plants also produce sperm cells. The spores of nonflowering plants are analogous to the seeds of flowering plants. (See asexual reproduction; compare sexual reproduction.) Fungi and algae typically reproduce by means of spores that are carried by the wind or some other agency to a new location for growth.

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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