Definition of morphology in English:


nounPlural morphologies

  • 1mass noun The study of the forms of things.

    1. 1.1 The branch of biology that deals with the form of living organisms, and with relationships between their structures.
      • ‘Given the relationship with male morphology, another question arising from these studies is what determines wasp body size.’
      • ‘Analysis of covariance revealed some relationships between subspecies morphology / growth habit and local environmental conditions.’
      • ‘Organisms were identified by morphology and biochemical reactions.’
      • ‘Indeed, far more studies have examined the relationship between morphology and performance than between performance and fitness.’
      • ‘Gross changes in chromosome morphology occur at each mitosis.’
    2. 1.2Linguistics The study of the forms of words, in particular inflected forms.
      ‘grammar is organized along two main dimensions: morphology and syntax’
      ‘a generative approach to Italian morphology’
      • ‘Of central concern is the relationship between morphology and phonology.’
      • ‘The general implication is that the ambiguities that exist in the relationships between orthography, phonology, and morphology underlie spelling knowledge.’
      • ‘French has inflectional morphology to indicate plurality, person, number, and tense, so inflection is not a foreign concept.’
      • ‘In some circumstances, languages borrow morphology as well as vocabulary.’
      • ‘Dialect encompasses various aspects of the language - syntax, morphology, lexicon, phonology.’
      inflection, form, ending
      View synonyms
  • 2A particular form, shape, or structure.

    • ‘Orchids display a vast array of floral morphologies and pollination mechanisms.’
    • ‘In addition, the species differ in wing morphologies.’
    • ‘So we can make a more general study of the functional morphology, the behaviour and the general anatomy of the animal.’
    • ‘It might be worth stating how problematic it can be to study morphology through time in a geographically restricted subset of a species.’
    • ‘Further, individual follicles produce feathers of different morphologies over the course of their life.’
    • ‘Leaf anatomy and morphology were studied in 11 tree species growing in an undisturbed forest for over 50 years.’
    • ‘Such flat morphologies are common in the Central Andes.’
    • ‘Ferns represent the majority of independent evolutions of leaf morphologies that suggest departures from strictly marginal growth.’
    • ‘The general geometric morphologies of elements from the two populations are also very similar.’
    • ‘Species were chosen to comprise a range of morphologies within the green stem habit, with large differences in the ratio of leaf to total photosynthetic area.’
    • ‘The largest and finest crystals - many having very complex morphologies - crystallize in the pillow pockets.’
    • ‘The morphologies of these previously distinct element types probably begin to merge, but they still represent two separate element pairs.’
    • ‘It will be important to directly quantify the flight costs of different tail morphologies in these and closely related species.’
    • ‘A single follicle will produce different morphologies on the same bird in the same spot depending on which generation the feather is.’
    • ‘Second, most morphologies related to strictly marginal growth are now associated only with ferns.’
    • ‘Many Paleozoic forms, now extinct, had very unusual morphologies.’
    • ‘The experiment was repeated for species of contrasting shoot and root morphologies: carrot, cabbage and onion, in separate years.’
    • ‘Students discovered unusual morphologies, and they learned of the often extreme physical and chemical attributes of urban soils.’


Mid 19th century: from Greek morphē ‘form’ + -logy.