One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A chemical substance produced and released into the environment by an animal, especially a mammal or an insect, affecting the behaviour or physiology of others of its species.
- ‘Bluntnose minnows probably release chemicals called pheromones when they are alarmed.’
- ‘Pigs and many other animals rely on pheromones secreted in their saliva to woo their mates.’
- ‘The cloacal and genial glands were chosen because they release pheromones used in mate attraction or courtship.’
- ‘In most species, the pheromones act as attractants and sexual stimulants.’
- ‘Once an enterprising hornet scouts out a bee colony, it marks the nest with a type of bodily chemical substance called a pheromone.’
1950s: from Greek pherein ‘convey’ + hormone.
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