Definition of meiosis in English:


nounPlural meioses

mass noun
  • 1Biology
    A type of cell division that results in four daughter cells each with half the number of chromosomes of the parent cell, as in the production of gametes and plant spores.

    ‘the sporophytes of green algae form spores only by meiosis’
    Compare with mitosis
    count noun ‘no recombinants were observed in over 100 meioses’
    • ‘In most meioses, every chromosome pair, no matter how small, sustains at least one crossover - a so-called obligate crossover or obligate chiasma.’
    • ‘They were able to work with 12 meioses (a three-generational family with four grandparents, two parents, and four children) and seven marker loci.’
    • ‘Models for genetic recombination have been proposed to explain the properties of genetic exchange during fungal meiosis.’
    • ‘This is evidence that the genes are evolving in a concerted manner, as might be predicted for genes that mispair very frequently in meiosis.’
    • ‘My personal hope is that students will have some intuitive understanding of meiosis as the physical basis of genetics.’
  • 2

    another term for litotes
    • ‘Meiosis, often achieved through a trope of one word, may range from bitter scorn to light derision.’


Mid 16th century (in meiosis (sense 2)): modern Latin, from Greek meiōsis, from meioun ‘lessen’, from meiōn ‘less’. meiosis (sense 1) dates from the early 20th century.