Definition of ovum in English:



  • A mature female reproductive cell, especially of a human or other animal, which can divide to give rise to an embryo usually only after fertilization by a male cell.

    ‘the ovum contributes one chromosome of each pair to the fertilized cell’
    • ‘An ovum (plural ova) is a mature egg released at ovulation.’
    • ‘There are a few exceptions to this pattern, most famously in seahorses where females have an ovipositor which places unfertilized ova into the male's pouch for insemination.’
    • ‘The ovaries perform both an exocrine function by producing ova and an endocrine function by producing estrogen and progesterone.’
    • ‘When a human sperm fertilizes a human ovum, a single cell is created with the potential to grow into a human person.’
    • ‘As in most other animals, the sperm mitochondria penetrate the cell membrane of the ovum at fertilization.’


Early 18th century: from Latin, literally egg.