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 Dictionary entry overview: What does biology mean? 

BIOLOGY (noun)
  The noun BIOLOGY has 3 senses:

1. the science that studies living organisms
2. characteristic life processes and phenomena of living organisms
3. all the plant and animal life of a particular region

  Familiarity information: BIOLOGY used as a noun is uncommon.

 Dictionary entry details 

BIOLOGY (noun)

Sense 1biology [BACK TO TOP]


The science that studies living organisms

Classified under:

Nouns denoting cognitive processes and contents


biological science; biology

Hypernyms ("biology" is a kind of...):

bioscience; life science (any of the branches of natural science dealing with the structure and behavior of living organisms)

Domain member category:

epimorphic (characterized by incomplete metamorphosis; having the same number of body segments in successive stages)

versatile (able to move freely in all directions)

hermaphrodite; hermaphroditic (of animal or plant; having both male female reproductive organs)

female (being the sex (of plant or animal) that produces fertilizable gametes (ova) from which offspring develop)

male (being the sex (of plant or animal) that produces gametes (spermatozoa) that perform the fertilizing function in generation)

in vivo (within a living organism)

ventricose; ventricous (having a swelling on one side)

cernuous; drooping; nodding; pendulous (having branches or flower heads that bend downward)

analogous (corresponding in function but not in evolutionary origin)

metamorphous (produced by metamorphosis)

natural (functioning or occurring in a normal way; lacking abnormalities or deficiencies)

lepidote; leprose; scabrous; scaly; scurfy (rough to the touch; covered with scales or scurf)

fissiparous (reproducing by fission)

capitate (being abruptly enlarged and globose at the tip)

thermolabile ((chemistry, physics, biology) readily changed or destroyed by heat)

labile ((chemistry, physics, biology) readily undergoing change or breakdown)

caducous; shed (shed at an early stage of development)

lasting; persistent (retained; not shed)

facultative (able to exist under more than one set of conditions)

obligate (restricted to a particular condition of life)

heterologic; heterological; heterologous (not corresponding in structure or evolutionary origin)

homologic; homological (similar in evolutionary origin but not in function)

trinuclear; trinucleate; trinucleated (having three nuclei)

mononuclear; mononucleate (having only one nucleus)

binuclear; binucleate; binucleated (having two nuclei)

tetramerous (having or consisting of four similar parts; tetramerous flowers)

tomentose; tomentous (densely covered with short matted woolly hairs)

pilary; pilose; pilous (covered with hairs especially fine soft ones)

downy; puberulent; pubescent; sericeous (covered with fine soft hairs or down)

canescent; hoary (covered with fine whitish hairs or down)

formative (capable of forming new cells and tissues)

diurnal (belonging to or active during the day)

nocturnal (belonging to or active during the night)

homologous (having the same evolutionary origin but serving different functions)

alpine (living or growing above the timber line)

acephalous (lacking a head or a clearly defined head)

plumate; plumed; plumose (having an ornamental plume or feathery tuft)

rudimentary; vestigial (not fully developed in mature animals)

free-living; nonparasitic; nonsymbiotic (not parasitic on another organism)

symbiotic (used of organisms (especially of different species) living together but not necessarily in a relation beneficial to each)

myrmecophilous (living symbiotically with ants)

glabrous (having no hair or similar growth; smooth)

differentiated (exhibiting biological specialization; adapted during development to a specific function or environment)

katharobic (of living being in an oxygenated environment lacking organic matter)

monotypic (consisting of only one type)

mental (of or relating to the chin- or liplike structure in insects and certain mollusks)

generic (relating to or common to or descriptive of all members of a genus)

commensal (living in a state of commensalism)

palingenetic (of or relating to palingenesis)

cenogenetic (of or relating to cenogenesis)

intracellular (located or occurring within a cell or cells)

intercellular (located between cells)

polydactyl; polydactylous (of or relating to a person (or other vertebrate) having more than the normal number of digits)

urceolate (urn-shaped; large below and contracted toward the mouth)

symbiotically (in a symbiotic manner)

saprobic (living in or being an environment rich in organic matter but lacking oxygen)

taxonomic; taxonomical (of or relating to taxonomy)

basophilic (staining readily with basic dyes)

bionomic; bionomical; ecologic; ecological (of or relating to the science of ecology)

nucleate; nucleated (having a nucleus or occurring in the nucleus)

nuclear (of or relating to or constituting the nucleus of a cell)

polymorphic; polymorphous (relating to the occurrence of more than one kind of individual (independent of sexual differences) in an interbreeding population)

isomorphic; isomorphous (having similar appearance but genetically different)

extracellular (located or occurring outside a cell or cells)

cellular (relating to cells)

allopatric ((of biological species or speciation) occurring in areas isolated geographically from one another)

sympatric ((of biological species or speciation) occurring in the same or overlapping geographical areas)

bilaterally symmetrical; zygomorphic; zygomorphous (capable of division into symmetrical halves by only one longitudinal plane passing through the axis)

actinomorphic; actinomorphous (capable of division into symmetrical halves by any longitudinal plane passing through the axis)

geniculate (bent at a sharp angle)

astomatous; mouthless (having no mouth or mouthlike opening)

stomatous (having a mouth or mouthlike opening)

stabile ((chemistry, physics, biology) resistant to change)

territorial (displaying territoriality; defending a territory from intruders)

nonterritorial (not displaying territoriality)

compressed; flat (flattened laterally along the whole length (e.g., certain leafstalks or flatfishes))

bacillar; bacillary (relating to or produced by or containing bacilli)

alar; alary; aliform; wing-shaped (having or resembling wings)

connate (of similar parts or organs; closely joined or united)

adnate (of unlike parts or organs; growing closely attached)

bilocular; biloculate (divided into or containing two cells or chambers)

multiparous (producing more than one offspring at a time)

uniparous (producing only one offspring at a time)

depressed (flattened downward as if pressed from above or flattened along the dorsal and ventral surfaces)

generalised; generalized (not biologically differentiated or adapted to a specific function or environment)

type species ((biology) the species that best exemplifies the essential characteristics of the genus to which it belongs)

form family ((biology) an artificial taxonomic category for organisms of which the true relationships are obscure)

superfamily ((biology) a taxonomic group ranking below an order but above a family)

family ((biology) a taxonomic group containing one or more genera)

superorder ((biology) a taxonomic group ranking above an order and below a class or subclass)

suborder ((biology) taxonomic group that is a subdivision of an order)

order ((biology) taxonomic group containing one or more families)

superclass ((biology) a taxonomic class below a phylum and above a class)

subclass ((biology) a taxonomic category below a class and above an order)

subfamily ((biology) a taxonomic category below a family)

tribe ((biology) a taxonomic category between a genus and a subfamily)

genus ((biology) taxonomic group containing one or more species)

type ((biology) the taxonomic group whose characteristics are used to define the next higher taxon)

form; strain; var.; variant ((biology) a group of organisms within a species that differ in trivial ways from similar groups)

race; subspecies ((biology) a taxonomic group that is a division of a species; usually arises as a consequence of geographical isolation within a species)

species ((biology) taxonomic group whose members can interbreed)

form genus ((biology) an artificial taxonomic category for organisms of which the true relationships are obscure)

type genus ((biology) genus from which the name of a family or subfamily is formed; it is not necessarily the most representative genus but often the largest or best known or earliest described)

monotype ((biology) a taxonomic group with a single member (a single species or genus))

subgenus ((biology) taxonomic group between a genus and a species)

class ((biology) a taxonomic group containing one or more orders)

superphylum ((biology) a taxonomic group ranking between a phylum and below a class or subclass)

spindle ((biology) tiny fibers that are seen in cell division; the fibers radiate from two poles and meet at the equator in the middle)

coarctation ((biology) a narrowing or constriction of a vessel or canal; especially a congenital narrowing of the aorta)

valence; valency ((biology) a relative capacity to unite or react or interact as with antigens or a biological substrate)

heterology ((biology) the lack of correspondence of apparently similar body parts)

isomorphism; isomorphy ((biology) similarity or identity of form or shape or structure)

homogeny ((biology) similarity because of common evolution)

monad ((biology) a single-celled microorganism (especially a flagellate protozoan))

culture ((biology) the growing of microorganisms in a nutrient medium (such as gelatin or agar))

meme (a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one generation to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation))

cell doctrine; cell theory ((biology) the theory that cells form the fundamental structural and functional units of all living organisms; proposed in 1838 by Matthias Schleiden and by Theodor Schwann)

evolutionism; theory of evolution; theory of organic evolution ((biology) a scientific theory of the origin of species of plants and animals)

subphylum ((biology) a taxonomic group ranking between a phylum and a class)

phylum ((biology) the major taxonomic group of animals and plants; contains classes)

variety ((biology) a taxonomic category consisting of members of a species that differ from others of the same species in minor but heritable characteristics)

subkingdom ((biology) a taxonomic group comprising a major division of a kingdom)

cataplasia ((biology) degenerative reversion of cells or tissue to a less differentiated or more primitive form)

taxonomy ((biology) study of the general principles of scientific classification)

cybernetics ((biology) the field of science concerned with processes of communication and control (especially the comparison of these processes in biological and artificial systems))

theory of inheritance ((biology) a theory of how characteristics of one generation are derived from earlier generations)

cell ((biology) the basic structural and functional unit of all organisms; they may exist as independent units of life (as in monads) or may form colonies or tissues as in higher plants and animals)

division ((biology) a group of organisms forming a subdivision of a larger category)

dormant; hibernating; torpid (in a condition of biological rest or suspended animation)

conjugate (undergo conjugation)

transform (change (a bacterial cell) into a genetically distinct cell by the introduction of DNA from another cell of the same or closely related species)

enucleate (remove the nucleus from (a cell))

vegetate (propagate asexually)

propagate (multiply sexually or asexually)

medium ((biology) a substance in which specimens are preserved or displayed)

activator ((biology) any agency bringing about activation; a molecule that increases the activity of an enzyme or a protein that increases the production of a gene product in DNA transcription)

turgor ((biology) the normal rigid state of fullness of a cell or blood vessel or capillary resulting from pressure of the contents against the wall or membrane)

copy; replicate (reproduce or make an exact copy of)

abaxial; dorsal (facing away from the axis of an organ or organism)

adaxial; ventral (nearest to or facing toward the axis of an organ or organism)

attached; sessile (permanently attached to a substrate; not free to move about)

pedunculate; stalked (having or growing on or from a peduncle or stalk)

sessile; stalkless (attached directly by the base; not having an intervening stalk)

amphibiotic; semiaquatic (having an aquatic early or larval form and a terrestrial adult form)

subaquatic; subaqueous; submerged; submersed; underwater (growing or remaining under water)

semiaquatic; subaquatic (partially aquatic; living or growing partly on land and partly in water)

retrorse (bent or curved backward or downward)

antrorse (bent or curved forward or upward)

brachium ((biology) a branching or armlike part of an animal)

uncus ((biology) any hook-shaped process or part)

elan vital; life force; vital force; vitality ((biology) a hypothetical force (not physical or chemical) once thought by Henri Bergson to cause the evolution and development of organisms)

recognition ((biology) the ability of one molecule to attach to another molecule that has a complementary shape)

dimorphism ((biology) the existence of two forms of individual within the same animal species (independent of sex differences))

polymorphism ((biology) the existence of two or more forms of individuals within the same animal species (independent of sex differences))

pleomorphism ((biology) the appearance of two or more distinctly different forms in the life cycle of some organisms)

dehiscence ((biology) release of material by splitting open of an organ or tissue; the natural bursting open at maturity of a fruit or other reproductive body to release seeds or spores or the bursting open of a surgically closed wound)

organic phenomenon ((biology) a natural phenomenon involving living plants and animals)

mutant; mutation; sport; variation ((biology) an organism that has characteristics resulting from chromosomal alteration)

biologist; life scientist ((biology) a scientist who studies living organisms)

accretion ((biology) growth by addition as by the adhesion of parts or particles)

anisogamy ((biology) reproduction by the union or fusion of two differing gametes (especially differing in size))

affinity; phylogenetic relation ((biology) state of relationship between organisms or groups of organisms resulting in resemblance in structure or structural parts)

differentiation; specialisation; specialization ((biology) the structural adaptation of some body part for a particular function)

regeneration ((biology) growth anew of lost tissue or destroyed parts or organs)

isogamy ((biology) reproduction by the union or fusion of gametes of the same size and structure)

intussusception ((biology) growth in the surface area of a cell by the deposit of new particles between existing particles in the cell wall)

development; growing; growth; maturation; ontogenesis; ontogeny ((biology) the process of an individual organism growing organically; a purely biological unfolding of events involved in an organism changing gradually from a simple to a more complex level)

evolution; organic evolution; phylogenesis; phylogeny ((biology) the sequence of events involved in the evolutionary development of a species or taxonomic group of organisms)

decomposition; putrefaction; rot; rotting ((biology) the process of decay caused by bacterial or fungal action)

apposition ((biology) growth in the thickness of a cell wall by the deposit of successive layers of material)

Hyponyms (each of the following is a kind of "biology"):

biogeography (dealing with the geographical distribution of animals and plants)

sociobiology (the branch of biology that conducts comparative studies of the social organization of animals (including human beings) with regard to its evolutionary history)

radiobiology (the branch of biology that studies the effects of radiation on living organisms)

physiology (the branch of the biological sciences dealing with the functioning of organisms)

palaeobiology; paleobiology (a branch of paleontology that deals with the origin and growth and structure of fossil animals and plants as living organisms)

neurobiology (the branch of biology that deals with the anatomy and physiology and pathology of the nervous system)

morphology (the branch of biology that deals with the structure of animals and plants)

molecular biology (the branch of biology that studies the structure and activity of macromolecules essential to life (and especially with their genetic role))

microbiology (the branch of biology that studies microorganisms and their effects on humans)

genetic science; genetics (the branch of biology that studies heredity and variation in organisms)

forestry (the science of planting and caring for forests and the management of growing timber)

astrobiology; exobiology; space biology (the branch of biology concerned with the effects of outer space on living organisms and the search for extraterrestrial life)

embryology (the branch of biology that studies the formation and early development of living organisms)

bionomics; ecology; environmental science (the branch of biology concerned with the relations between organisms and their environment)

cytology (the branch of biology that studies the structure and function of cells)

cryobiology (the branch of biology that studies the effects of low temperatures on living tissues or organs or organisms)

botany; phytology (the branch of biology that studies plants)

zoological science; zoology (the branch of biology that studies animals)

Sense 2biology [BACK TO TOP]


Characteristic life processes and phenomena of living organisms

Classified under:

Nouns denoting natural phenomena

Context example:

the biology of viruses

Hypernyms ("biology" is a kind of...):

life (the organic phenomenon that distinguishes living organisms from nonliving ones)

Sense 3biology [BACK TO TOP]


All the plant and animal life of a particular region

Classified under:

Nouns denoting groupings of people or objects


biota; biology

Hypernyms ("biology" is a kind of...):

accumulation; aggregation; assemblage; collection (several things grouped together or considered as a whole)

Meronyms (members of "biology"):

fauna; zoology (all the animal life in a particular region or period)

botany; flora; vegetation (all the plant life in a particular region or period)

 Learn English with... Proverbs of the week 
"When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." (English proverb)

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"He who takes no chances wins nothing." (Danish proverb)

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