AskDefine | Define embryonic

Dictionary Definition

embryonic adj
1 of or relating to an embryo; "the embryonic membrane" [syn: embryonal]
2 of an organism prior to birth or hatching; "in the embryonic stage"; "embryologic development" [syn: embryologic, embryonal]
3 in an early stage of development; "the embryo government staffed by survivors of the massacre"; "an embryonic nation, not yet self-governing" [syn: embryotic]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /ˈɛm.bɹi.ɒn.ɪk/, /"Em.bri:.Qn.Ik/


  1. Of or related to an embryo.
  2. Something, especially a project, that is very new and is still evolving; something that has yet to reach its full potential.


embryology: of or related to an embryo
  • Czech: zárodečný
  • German: embryonal
figuratively: something, especially a project, that is very new and is still evolving
  • Czech: zárodečný

Extensive Definition

An embryo (from Greek: , plural , lit. "that which grows," from en- "in" + bryein "to swell, be full") is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination. In humans, it is called an embryo from the moment of fertilisation until the end of the 8th week, whereafter it is instead called a fetus.


The development of the embryo is called embryogenesis. In organisms that reproduce sexually, once a sperm fertilizes an egg cell, the result is a cell called the zygote that has all the DNA of two parents. The resulting embryo derives 50 percent of its genetic makeup from each parent. In plants, animals, and some protists, the zygote will begin to divide by mitosis to produce a multicellular organism. The result of this process is an embryo.

In animals

In animals, the development of the zygote into an embryo proceeds through specific recognizable stages of blastula, gastrula, and organogenesis. The blastula stage typically features a fluid-filled cavity, the blastocoel, surrounded by a sphere or sheet of cells, also called blastomeres.
  • Plants: In botany, a seed plant embryo is part of a seed, consisting of precursor tissues for the leaves, stem (see hypocotyl), and root (see radicle), as well as one or more cotyledons. Once the embryo begins to germinate — grow out from the seed — it is called a seedling. Plants that do not produce seeds, but do produce an embryo, include the bryophytes and ferns. In these plants, the embryo is a young plant that grows attached to a parental gametophyte.
  • Animals: The embryo of a placental mammal is defined as the organism between the first division of the zygote (a fertilized ovum) until it becomes a fetus. In humans, the embryo is defined as the product of conception from implantation in the uterus through the eighth week of development. An embryo is called a fetus at a more advanced stage of development and up until birth or hatching. In humans, this is from the eighth week of gestation.
embryonic in Arabic: جنين
embryonic in Catalan: Embrió
embryonic in Czech: Embryo
embryonic in Danish: Embryon
embryonic in German: Embryo
embryonic in Estonian: Embrüo
embryonic in Spanish: Embrión
embryonic in Esperanto: Embrio
embryonic in Persian: جنین
embryonic in French: Embryon
embryonic in Galician: Embrión
embryonic in Ido: Embriono
embryonic in Indonesian: Embrio
embryonic in Italian: Embrione
embryonic in Luxembourgish: Embryo
embryonic in Lithuanian: Gemalas
embryonic in Dutch: Embryo
embryonic in Japanese: 胚
embryonic in Norwegian: Embryo
embryonic in Occitan (post 1500): Embrion
embryonic in Polish: Embrion
embryonic in Portuguese: Embrião
embryonic in Russian: Эмбрион
embryonic in Simple English: Embryo
embryonic in Slovak: Embryo
embryonic in Slovenian: Zarodek
embryonic in Serbo-Croatian: Zametak
embryonic in Serbian: Ембрион
embryonic in Finnish: Alkio
embryonic in Swedish: Embryo
embryonic in Turkish: Embriyo
embryonic in Ukrainian: Ембріон
embryonic in Urdu: جنین
embryonic in Chinese: 胚胎

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abecedarian, aboriginal, antenatal, arrested, atomic, autochthonous, backward, basal, basic, beginning, budding, callow, central, coarse, corpuscular, creative, crucial, crude, defective, deficient, elemental, elementary, evanescent, failing, fetal, formative, foundational, fundamental, generative, genetic, germinal, germinant, germinational, germinative, germiparous, gestatory, granular, hypoplastic, immature, impalpable, imperceptible, imponderable, in arrear, in arrears, in default, in embryo, in its infancy, in ovo, in short supply, in the bud, in the rough, inadequate, inappreciable, inaugural, inceptive, inchoate, inchoative, incipient, incomplete, incunabular, indiscernible, infant, infantile, infinitesimal, initial, initiative, initiatory, intangible, introductory, inventive, invisible, lacking, larval, microcosmic, microscopic, missing, molecular, nascent, natal, needing, original, oversimple, part, partial, parturient, patchy, postnatal, pregnant, prenatal, primal, primary, prime, primeval, primitive, primogenial, primordial, pristine, procreative, protogenic, radical, reductionistic, reductive, rough, roughcast, roughhewn, rude, rudimental, rudimentary, scant, scanty, scrappy, seminal, short, shy, simplistic, sketchy, stunted, subatomic, tenuous, thin, ultramicroscopic, unblown, uncultivated, uncultured, uncut, underdeveloped, undeveloped, unfashioned, unfinished, unformed, unhewn, unlabored, unlicked, unpolished, unprocessed, unrefined, unseeable, untreated, unworked, unwrought, ur, wanting
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