Find the word definition

Crossword clues for meiosis

The Collaborative International Dictionary

Meiosis \Mei*o"sis\ (m[-i]*[=o]"s[i^]s), n. [NL., fr. Gr. mei`wsis, fr. meioy^n to make smaller, from mei`wn. See Meionite.]

  1. (Rhet.) Diminution; a species of hyperbole, representing a thing as being less than it really is; understatement; see also litotes.

  2. (Cell Biology) The cellular process by which a diploid progenitor cell forms haploid gametes, including a division of one diploid cell into two cells, each with one of the homologous sets of chromosomes.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"division of a cell nucleus," 1905, from Greek meiosis "a lessening," from meioun "to lessen," from meion "less," from PIE root *mei- (2) "small" (see minus).\n

\nEarlier (1580s) it was a rhetorical term, a figure of speech "weak or negative expression used for a positive and forcible one, so that it may be made all the more emphatic," as when one says "not bad" meaning "very good" or "don't mind if I do" meaning "I really would like to," or this example from "Mark Twain":\n\n"YOUNG AUTHOR." -- Yes Agassiz does recommend authors to eat fish, because the phosphorus in it makes brains. So far you are correct. But I cannot help you to a decision about the amount you need to eat,
--at least, not with certainty. If the specimen composition you send is about your fair usual average, I should judge that perhaps a couple of whales would be all you would want for the present. Not the largest kind, but simply good, middling-sized whales.\n\nRelated: meiotic; meiotically.


n. 1 (context countable rhetoric English) A figure of speech whereby something is made to seem smaller or less important than it actually is. 2 (context uncountable cytology English) Cell division of a diploid cell into four haploid cells, which develop to produce (l en gametes).

  1. n. (genetics) cell division that produces reproductive cells in sexually reproducing organisms; the nucleus divides into four nuclei each containing half the chromosome number (leading to gametes in animals and spores in plants) [syn: miosis, reduction division]

  2. understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary); "saying `I was not a little upset' when you mean `I was very upset' is an example of litotes" [syn: litotes]

  3. [also: meioses (pl)]

Meiosis (figure of speech)

In rhetoric, meiosis is a euphemistic figure of speech that intentionally understates something or implies that it is lesser in significance or size than it really is. Meiosis is the opposite of auxesis, and also sometimes used as a synonym for litotes. The term is derived from the Greek μειόω (“to make smaller”, "to diminish").


Meiosis is a specialized type of cell division that reduces the chromosome number by half. This process occurs in all sexually reproducing single-celled and multicellular eukaryotes, including animals, plants, and fungi. Errors in meiosis resulting in aneuploidy are the leading known cause of miscarriage and the most frequent genetic cause of developmental disabilities.

In meiosis, DNA replication is followed by two rounds of cell division to produce four potential daughter cells, each with half the number of chromosomes as the original parent cell. The two meiotic divisions are known as Meiosis I and Meiosis II. Before meiosis begins, during S phase of the cell cycle, the DNA of each chromosome is replicated so that it consists of two identical sister chromatids, which remain held together through sister chromatid cohesion. This S-phase can be referred to as "premeiotic S-phase" or "meiotic S-phase." Immediately following DNA replication, meiotic cells enter a prolonged G2-like stage known as meiotic prophase. During this time, homologous chromosomes pair with each other and undergo genetic recombination, a programmed process in which DNA is cut and then repaired, which allows them to exchange some of their genetic information. A subset of recombination events results in crossovers, which create physical links known as chiasmata (singular: chiasma, for the Greek letter Chi) between the homologous chromosomes. In most organisms, these links are essential to direct each pair of homologous chromosomes to segregate away from each other during Meiosis I, resulting in two haploid cells that have half the number of chromosomes as the parent cell. During Meiosis II, the cohesion between sister chromatids is released and they segregate from one another, as during mitosis. In some cases all four of the meiotic products form gametes such as sperm, spores, or pollen. In female animals, three of the four meiotic products are typically eliminated by extrusion into polar bodies, and only one cell develops to produce an ovum.

Because the number of chromosomes is halved during meiosis, gametes can fuse (i.e. fertilization) to form a diploid zygote that contains two copies of each chromosome, one from each parent. Thus, alternating cycles of meiosis and fertilization enable sexual reproduction, with successive generations maintaining the same number of chromosomes. For example, diploid human cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 total), half of maternal origin and half of paternal origin. Meiosis produces haploid gametes (ova or sperm) that contain one set of 23 chromosomes. When two gametes (an egg and a sperm) fuse, the resulting zygote is once again diploid, with the mother and father each contributing 23 chromosomes. This same pattern, but not the same number of chromosomes, occurs in all organisms that utilize meiosis.

Usage examples of "meiosis".

Neighbouring cistrons on the same chromosome form a tightly-knit troupe of travelling companions who seldom fail to get on board the same vessel when meiosis time comes around.

The very first genes would have had to come from random DNA, since there were no genes or exons to be duplicated or crossed-over in meiosis.

Suppose it happened to bias meiosis in such a way that it, the mutant gene itself, was more likely than its allelic partner to end up in the egg.

But look- when we show meiosis reproduction, through the heterozygous population, see what happens.

Because all snail genes have an equal stake in every sperm and every egg, because they all participate in the same unpartisan meiosis, they work together for the common good, and therefore tend to make the snail body a coherent, purposeful vehicle.

The basic process is the same, meiosis and mitosis, governed by a molecular 'blue-print' not unlike our chromosomes.

I'm sure you recognized that 25-50-25 distribution as representing the most drastic case of inbreeding, one which can happen only half the time with line breeding, only a quarter of the time with full siblings, in both cases through chromosome reduction at meiosis.

Each primary spermatocyte gives rise by meiosis to two secondary spermatocytes, each of which in turn divides into two spermatids.