Definition of heterogeneous in English:



  • 1Diverse in character or content.

    ‘a large and heterogeneous collection’
    • ‘This study has limitations, including the small, heterogeneous population and data collection at a single site.’
    • ‘They were a racially and ethnically heterogeneous group; 84 percent of the children were eligible for free or reduced price lunches, and a majority read at or below grade level.’
    • ‘Surrounding these core units was a heterogeneous coalition as diverse in their loyalties as they were in their equipment, training, and combat capabilities.’
    • ‘However, in a heterogeneous habitat diverse elements may influence movement.’
    • ‘The population is heterogeneous and cosmopolitan to a degree almost unknown elsewhere.’
    • ‘In general, blues festivals attract a very diverse, heterogeneous audience.’
    • ‘Apparently, Canada succeeded where the U.S. had failed in assembling multiculturally diverse, heterogeneous groups of people.’
    • ‘To be prepared to teach all children in the schools of today and tomorrow, teachers must have an understanding of the diversity present in heterogeneous classrooms.’
    • ‘The narrow inclusion and validity criteria stated in the protocol ensured that studies included would be valid and less likely to be heterogeneous or diverse.’
    • ‘You would be hard-pressed to come up with a more heterogeneous collection of oddments.’
    • ‘Distributed widely as they are in the political spectrum, these heterogeneous groups represent very diverse outlooks and interests as a whole.’
    • ‘For this brief review, I have taken a pragmatic approach, collecting information from heterogeneous sources, with very different degrees of reliability.’
    • ‘Can one really expect what is in reality a globally heterogeneous collection of movements to have a single message’?’
    • ‘Collectively, Antarctic studies have painted a picture of a biologically diverse and heterogeneous marine environment.’
    • ‘He created a nationalist and revolutionary rhetoric in order to transform the heterogeneous state into a unitary entity.’
    • ‘Our sample is not formally representative of any specific population, but it approximates a heterogeneous collection of clinically referred youth.’
    • ‘Clayton's proposed methodology for cultural studies serves as a wide umbrella for a heterogeneous collection of individual essays.’
    • ‘First, it is difficult to fix categories in advance for such a heterogeneous collection of work without forcing individual entries into often inappropriate pigeon holes.’
    • ‘Almost two decades later, it is still hard to quantify such settlements, as the city's topography accentuates their heterogeneous character and formal diversity.’
    • ‘To manage the affairs of a small homogenous state is relatively simple as compared to the affairs of a heterogeneous state of continental dimension.’
    diverse, diversified, varied, varying, miscellaneous, assorted, mixed, sundry, contrasting, disparate, different, differing, divergent, unrelated, variegated, wide-ranging
    divers, myriad, legion
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    1. 1.1Chemistry Of or denoting a process involving substances in different phases (solid, liquid, or gaseous)
      ‘heterogeneous catalysis’
      • ‘The catalytic converter is a good example of a heterogeneous catalysis in action.’
      • ‘For this reason the process chosen is usually heterogeneous catalysis, because this keeps the cost and the number of process steps to a minimum.’
      • ‘Chemisorption plays an essential role in corrosion, heterogeneous catalysis, and electrochemistry.’
      • ‘Abstract Sickle hemoglobin nucleation occurs in solution as a homogeneous process or on existing polymers in a heterogeneous process.’
      • ‘My research interests are organic chemistry mechanisms, organometallic chemistry, and heterogeneous catalysis.’
    2. 1.2Mathematics Incommensurable through being of different kinds, degrees, or dimensions.
      • ‘The heterogeneous variant should be counted twice, because statistically it is twice as likely as either of the homogeneous combinations.’
      • ‘If the rate ratio was heterogeneous, then the maximum-likelihood estimates of parameters under the free-ratio model were used to calculate d N and d S along each branch.’
      • ‘Since the variances in shell growth rate were heterogeneous, the data were square-root transformed before analysis to make variances homogeneous.’
      • ‘In this article, we implement a number of models (statistical distributions) for heterogeneous ratios among sites.’
      • ‘I explore the consequences of the logically heterogeneous character of exception phrase NPs for proof-theoretic accounts of quantifiers in natural language.’


The correct spelling is heterogeneous, but a fairly common misspelling is heterogenous. The reason for the error probably relates to the pronunciation, which, in rapid speech, often misses out the extra e. Heterogenous is actually a different word, which is used in specialized medical and biological senses and means ‘originating outside the organism’


Early 17th century: from medieval Latin heterogeneus, from Greek heterogenēs, from heteros other + genos a kind.