Definition of morphology in English:



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

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


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