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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for polymorphous in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


From New Latin polymorphus, from Ancient Greek πολύμορφος (polúmorphos, multiform, manifold), from πολύς (polús, many, much) + μορφή (morphḗ, form, shape).


polymorphous (comparative more polymorphous, superlative most polymorphous)

  1. Having, or assuming, a variety of forms, characters, or styles
    • 1907, Anon translating Alfred Binet, The Mind and the Brain Book III Chapter II
      Idealism is an exceedingly complex system, varying much with varying authors, very polymorphous, and consequently very difficult to discuss.
  2. (biology) Having, or occurring in, several distinct forms
    • 1913, R. Chodat in Popular Science Monthly Volume 82 Janauay 1913, A Grain of Wheat
      In order to establish itself in any locality a plant must hold its own against competitors which, masters of the soil from time immemorial, have been selected to fit the soil and climate. Moreover, emmer is not cultivated anywhere in Palestine. This wild wheat is furthermore a different plant from any known in cultivation, a polymorphous race, no doubt, but a distinct one.
  3. (chemistry) Crystallizing in two or more different forms; polymorphic



(in biology): monomorphic

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