One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Chiefly Science. Having several or many centres.
2Mycology. Of the thallus of fungi of the order Chytridiales: having more than one centre of growth and development.
3Cell Biology. Of a chromosome or chromatid: = multicentric.
4Politics. Characterized by polycentrism.
Cell Biology. A multicentric chromosome or chromatid.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Harry Marshall Ward (1854–1906). From poly- + -centric. Compare post-classical Latin policentricus, French polycentrique, Italian policentrico, all in sense ‘having several or many centres’.
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