One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The theory that the ovum holds all the material necessary for development of the embryo, the sperm providing only a stimulus to initiate the process.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in The New Sydenham Society's Lexicon of Medicine and the Allied Sciences. From classical Latin ōvum ovum + -ism, probably after French ovisme. Compare Italian ovismo.
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