Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



An adaptation of New Latin fissiparus, from fissus (split, cleft) + pariō (I bring forth) by analogy with vīviparus.


  • IPA(key): /fɪˈsɪpəɹəs/
  • (file)


fissiparous (comparative more fissiparous, superlative most fissiparous)

  1. Factious, tending to break into pieces.
    Synonym: unstable
    • 2003 December 13, “Leading the new Europe”, in The Guardian[1]:
      That nation, inescapably, is Germany, the largest, richest, most important, perhaps most admirable and certainly most pivotal nation in the European Union, the nation around which a flourishing Europe will always centre and the nation upon which a fissiparous Europe always risks foundering.
    • 2005 December, Nir Rosen, “If America Left Iraq”, in The Atlantic[2]:
      There is no panacea. Iraq is a destroyed and fissiparous country.
    • 2015 January 1, Steven Erlanger, “New Year, Old Problems”, in The New York Times[3], →ISSN:
      Like empires, world orders grow old, fissiparous, complacent and grumpy — despite the Champagne, the thrill is gone.
  2. Causing division or fragmenting something.
    Synonyms: divisive, fragmenting
    fissiparous tendencies
    • 1901, H. F. B. Lynch, Armenia, Travels and Studies[4], volume 1:
      Was he impressed with the cohesion of the Christians among themselves, and by the contrast thus offered to the fissiparous tendencies of his feudal polity?
    • 1907, George Curzon, Frontiers:
      The sea was such a link in the case of Greece and her city colonies enabling her (no hostile power having command of the Mediterranean) to maintain connexion with her foreign colonies, in spite of the fissiparous influence of her physical configuration on the mainland.
    • 1980 August 9, Michael T. Kaufmans, quoting Jawaharlal Nehru, “Tribal Revolts in India Revive Old Fears of Breakup”, in The New York Times[5], →ISSN:
      The term, which means having the quality of reproducing by splitting, was first used in the national context by the founding Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who warned that “fissiparous tendencies” might someday shatter the Indian union.
    • 2010 February 4, Alexis Petridis, quoting Will Self, “Massive Attack: Heligoland”, in The Guardian[6]:
      After ­spending 1,000 words establishing that he's the only person in Britain who refers to ­Massive Attack as "the Massives", he ­finally let fly with the what-did-you-have-for-lunch-mate-dictionary-­pudding? stuff he had presumably been employed for: "The Massives have always had a certain fissiparous approach to their work as an ensemble" and so on.
  3. (cytology) Of cells that reproduce through fission, splitting into two.

Coordinate terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]