Definition of somatotype in US English:



  • A category to which people are assigned according to the extent to which their bodily physique conforms to a basic type (usually endomorphic, mesomorphic, or ectomorphic)

    ‘somatotypes refer to the underlying physique and are not changed by overeating or training’
    mass noun ‘the influence of age and somatotype’
    • ‘Boys were matched to another of similar age, social background, temperament, and biological somatotype, then randomly assigned either to the program or to the control group.’
    • ‘There are three widely accepted physique categories called somatotypes: endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph.’
    • ‘The relation of body height to body weight, Rohre's index, ponderal index and somatotype ectomophy component shows that students of ju-jitsu have slim and muscular body types.’
    • ‘Likewise, knowing your somatotype won't carry you much further than ‘I struggle to gain weight,’ ‘I get fat easily,’ or ‘I can't complain.’’
    • ‘The somatotype provides total information which is more useful than calculating particular measurements from predicting equations.’


1940s: coined by W. H. Sheldon in Varieties of Human Physique.