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From symbiosis +‎ -tic, from Ancient Greek συμβίωσις (sumbíōsis), from σύν (sún, with) + βίος (bíos, life).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌsɪm.baɪˈɒt.ɪk/, /ˌsɪm.biˈɒt.ɪk/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌsɪm.baɪˈɑt.ɪk/, /ˌsɪm.biˈɑt.ɪk/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒtɪk


symbiotic (not comparable)

  1. (ecology) Of, or relating to symbiosis; living together.
    A lichen is a fungus with symbiotic algae among its cells.
    • 2014 April 5, “Quite interesting: A quietly intriguing column from the brains behind QI, the BBC quiz show. This week; QI orchids you not”, in The Daily Telegraph (Weekend), page W22:
      Orchids rely on fungi to reproduce. Their tiny seeds don't have any on-board nutrients (like beans and apples) and will not germinate until they are infected by a symbiotic fungus which supplies them with food. Known as a protocorm, this tiny orchid-fungus ball grows, turns green and eventually starts to photosynthesise.
  2. Of a relationship with mutual benefit between two individuals or organisms.

Usage notes[edit]

Although the biologic meaning of symbiotic strictly refers to "living together", regardless of the nature of the relationship, in casual speech the word typically implies a beneficial relationship.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



symbiotic (plural symbiotics)

  1. (astronomy) A symbiotic star.