What does embryo mean?

Definitions for embryo
ˈɛm briˌoʊem·b·ry·o

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word embryo.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. embryonoun

    (botany) a minute rudimentary plant contained within a seed or an archegonium

  2. embryo, conceptus, fertilized eggnoun

    an animal organism in the early stages of growth and differentiation that in higher forms merge into fetal stages but in lower forms terminate in commencement of larval life


  1. embryonoun

    In the reproductive cycle, the stage after the fertilization of the egg that precedes the development into a foetus.

  2. embryonoun

    An organism in the earlier stages of development before it emerges from the egg, or before metamorphosis.

  3. embryonoun

    In viviparous animals, the young animal's earliest stages in the mother's body

  4. embryonoun

    In humans, usually the cell growth up to the end of the seventh week in the mother's body

  5. embryonoun

    A rudimentary plant contained in the seed.

  6. embryonoun

    The beginning; the first stage of anything.

  7. Etymology: A corruption of ἔμβρυον, from ἐν + βρύω.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Embryo, Embryonnoun

    Etymology: ἔμϐϱυων.

    The bringing forth of living creatures may be accelerated, if the embryo ripeneth and perfecteth sooner. Francis Bacon, Na. Hist.

    An exclusion before conformation, before the birth can bear the name of the parent, or be so much as properly called an embryon. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours, b. iii. c. 6.

    The earth was form’d, but in the womb a yet
    Of waters, embryon immature involv’d
    Appear’d not. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. vii. l. 277.

    In that dark womb are the signs and rudiments of an embryo world. Thomas Burnet, Theory of the Earth.

    When the crude embryo careful nature breeds,
    See how she works, and how her work proceeds. Richard Blackmore.

    While the promis’d fruit
    Lies yet a little embryo, unperceiv’d
    Within its crimson folds. James Thomson, Spring, l. 100.

    The company little suspected what a noble work I had then in embryo. Jonathan Swift.


  1. Embryo

    An embryo is an initial stage of development of a multicellular organism. In organisms that reproduce sexually, embryonic development is the part of the life cycle that begins just after fertilization of the female egg cell by the male sperm cell. The resulting fusion of these two cells produces a single-celled zygote that undergoes many cell divisions that produce cells known as blastomeres. The blastomeres are arranged as a solid ball that when reaching a certain size, called a morula, takes in fluid to create a cavity called a blastocoel. The structure is then termed a blastula, or a blastocyst in mammals. The mammalian blastocyst hatches before implantating into the endometrial lining of the womb. Once implanted the embryo will continue its development through the next stages of gastrulation, neurulation, and organogenesis. Gastrulation is the formation of the three germ layers that will form all of the different parts of the body. Neurulation forms the nervous system, and organogenesis is the development of all the various tissues and organs of the body. A newly developing human is typically referred to as an embryo until the ninth week after conception, when it is then referred to as a fetus. In other multicellular organisms, the word "embryo" can be used more broadly to any early developmental or life cycle stage prior to birth or hatching.


  1. embryo

    An embryo is an early stage of development of a multicellular organism. In humans and other mammals, it refers to the stage from the moment of fertilization until the end of the eighth week of gestational age, after which it is referred to as a fetus. In plants, it is the part of the seed that develops into a new plant. It consists of precursor cells that will differentiate to become the different tissues and organs of the organism.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Embryonoun

    the first rudiments of an organism, whether animal or plant

  2. Embryonoun

    the young of an animal in the womb, or more specifically, before its parts are developed and it becomes a fetus (see Fetus)

  3. Embryonoun

    the germ of the plant, which is inclosed in the seed and which is developed by germination

  4. Embryoadjective

    pertaining to an embryo; rudimentary; undeveloped; as, an embryo bud

  5. Etymology: [F. embryon, Gr. 'e`mbryon, perh. fr. in (akin to L. E. in) + to be full of, swell with; perh. akin to E. brew.]


  1. Embryo

    An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination. In humans, it is called an embryo until about eight weeks after fertilization, and from then it is instead called a fetus. The development of the embryo is called embryogenesis. In organisms that reproduce sexually, once a sperm fertilizes an egg cell, the result is a cell called the zygote, which possesses half the DNA of each of its two parents. In plants, animals, and some protists, the zygote will begin to divide by mitosis to produce a multicellular organism. The result of this process is an embryo.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Embryo

    em′bri-ō, Embryon, em′bri-on, n. the young of an animal in its earliest stages of development: the part of a seed which forms the future plant: the beginning of anything:—pl. Em′bryos, Em′bryons.—ns. Embryoc′tomy, destruction of the fetus in the uterus; Embryog′eny, the formation and development of the embryo; Embryog′raphy, description of the embryo.—adjs. Embryolog′ic, -al, of or pertaining to embryology.—ns. Embryol′ogist; Embryol′ogy, science of the embryo or fetus of animals.—adjs. Em′bryonate, -d, in the state of an embryo; Embryon′ic, Embryot′ic, of or relating to anything in an imperfect state: rudimentary.—ns. Embryot′omy, the division of a fetus to effect delivery; Embryul′cia, forcible extraction of a fetus. [Low L.,—Gr. embryonem (=en), in, bryein, to swell.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Embryo

    the scientific term for the young of an animal while yet in the initial stage of development in the womb; also applied to the plant in its rudimentary stage within the seed.

Editors Contribution

  1. embryo

    A form of organism.

    An embryo can be the creation of a child or an animal.

    Submitted by MaryC on September 5, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. embryo

    Song lyrics by embryo -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by embryo on the Lyrics.com website.


  1. Embryo

    the young animal before leaving the body of the parent or before emerging from the egg.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of embryo in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of embryo in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of embryo in a Sentence

  1. Christian Yates:

    Piebaldism is actually a disease, it's caused by cells in the early embryo failing to migrate correctly.... failing to get to the right place. The cells which we're interested in, that cause piebaldism, are called melanocytes and they're responsible for pigmentation of hair and of the skin. These cells start at the back of the embryo and they try to migrate round through the skin and cover the whole of the( embryo's) skin. When they fail to do that properly you tend to get regions of skin or hair which are lacking in pigment, often regions at the front of an animal. This is common in cats...... tuxedo cats, and it's also common in horses and pigs and even in humans.

  2. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz:

    It reveals the fundamental requirements that have to be fulfilled to make the right structure of the embryo with its organs.

  3. Kathy Niakan:

    This knowledge may improve embryo development after in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and might provide better clinical treatments for infertility.

  4. John Couvaras:

    Kimberly ONeill with baby London wasn't getting pregnant and moved to IVF and the embryo transfers resulted in miscarriages -- that's a huge red flag.

  5. Nicolas Rivron:

    What we did is, for the first time, we managed to promote the self-organization of stem cells into a very early embryo in a dish -- so everything happened in the lab.

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"embryo." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/embryo>.

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