One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Either of two organisms that live in symbiosis with one another.
- ‘Also unknown is whether chemicals that function as signals, rather than as nutrients, pass from the symbionts to the host organism.’
- ‘Some organisms have enlisted symbionts to provide traits or functions found in other kingdoms.’
- ‘An association between mitochondria and intracellular symbionts has already been documented for other symbiotic bacteria that manipulate host reproduction.’
- ‘The aphids can also host one of several bacterial symbionts known as secondary symbionts.’
- ‘She convinced the cytologists that mitochondria are symbionts in both plant and animal cells, as are chloroplasts in plant cells.’
Late 19th century: formed irregularly from Greek sumbiōn ‘living together’, present participle of sumbioun (see symbiosis).
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