Definition of prokaryote in English:


(also procaryote)


  • A microscopic single-celled organism that has neither a distinct nucleus with a membrane nor other specialized organelles. Prokaryotes include the bacteria and cyanobacteria.

    Compare with eukaryote
    • ‘The difference between eukaryotes and prokaryotes is that eukaryotes have a nucleus, while prokaryotes do not.’
    • ‘In a few organisms called prokaryotes, there is no defined nucleus and the DNA is found throughout the cell.’
    • ‘These proteins are expressed by all organisms ranging from prokaryotes to higher eukaryotes, including human cells.’
    • ‘Early fossils are all simple-celled prokaryotes such as bacteria and cyanobacteria.’
    • ‘Why are extragenic mutations evidently more common in viruses than in prokaryotes or eukaryotes?’


1960s: from pro- before + Greek karuon nut, kernel + -ote as in zygote.