Definition of abiogenesis in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The original evolution of life or living organisms from inorganic or inanimate substances:

    ‘to construct any convincing theory of abiogenesis, we must take into account the condition of the Earth about 4 billion years ago’
    • ‘Evolutionary theory does not deal with how life originally came into existence, a process called abiogenesis.’
    • ‘"This evolutionary timescale limits our ability to make strong inferences about how probable abiogenesis is."’
    • ‘Many of the constraints on the mode, environment and timing of abiogenesis are derived from laboratory simulations or from theoretical extrapolations to early terrestrial conditions.’
    • ‘Life's alleged origin from lifeless chemicals is commonly called chemical or prebiotic evolution, or abiogenesis.’
    • ‘Evolution doesn't encompass cosmology, or geology, or even abiogenesis; those are different areas.’
    1. 1.1historical
      another term for spontaneous generation
      • ‘There was a widespread persistence of the old belief that living creatures could arise from appropriate non-living matter. This was the theory of present-day spontaneous generation (abiogenesis)—a false view that has died hard.’
      • ‘I read about abiogenesis, the belief that animals and insects can be spontaneously generated from dew, piles of old clothes, the slime in wells, and mud.’
      • ‘The catchphrase of the day was ‘abiogenesis’ or ‘spontaneous generation’, to describe the belief that living organisms could develop from non-living matter.’


Late 19th century: from a- ‘not’ + Greek bios life + genesis.