Spontaneous generation
Generation Gen`er*a"tion, n. [OE. generacioun, F. g['e]n['e]ration, fr.L. generatio.] 1. The act of generating or begetting; procreation, as of animals. [1913 Webster]

2. Origination by some process, mathematical, chemical, or vital; production; formation; as, the generation of sounds, of gases, of curves, etc. [1913 Webster]

3. That which is generated or brought forth; progeny; offspiring. [1913 Webster]

4. A single step or stage in the succession of natural descent; a rank or remove in genealogy. Hence: The body of those who are of the same genealogical rank or remove from an ancestor; the mass of beings living at one period; also, the average lifetime of man, or the ordinary period of time at which one rank follows another, or father is succeeded by child, usually assumed to be one third of a century; an age. [1913 Webster]

This is the book of the generations of Adam. --Gen. v. 1. [1913 Webster]

Ye shall remain there [in Babylon] many years, and for a long season, namely, seven generations. --Baruch vi. 3. [1913 Webster]

All generations and ages of the Christian church. --Hooker. [1913 Webster]

5. Race; kind; family; breed; stock. [1913 Webster]

Thy mother's of my generation; what's she, if I be a dog? --Shak. [1913 Webster]

6. (Geom.) The formation or production of any geometrical magnitude, as a line, a surface, a solid, by the motion, in accordance with a mathematical law, of a point or a magnitude; as, the generation of a line or curve by the motion of a point, of a surface by a line, a sphere by a semicircle, etc. [1913 Webster]

7. (Biol.) The aggregate of the functions and phenomene which attend reproduction. [1913 Webster]

Note: There are four modes of generation in the animal kingdom: scissiparity or by fissiparous generation, gemmiparity or by budding, germiparity or by germs, and oviparity or by ova. [1913 Webster]

{Alternate generation} (Biol.), alternation of sexual with asexual generation, in which the products of one process differ from those of the other, -- a form of reproduction common both to animal and vegetable organisms. In the simplest form, the organism arising from sexual generation produces offspiring unlike itself, agamogenetically. These, however, in time acquire reproductive organs, and from their impregnated germs the original parent form is reproduced. In more complicated cases, the first series of organisms produced agamogenetically may give rise to others by a like process, and these in turn to still other generations. Ultimately, however, a generation is formed which develops sexual organs, and the original form is reproduced.

{Spontaneous generation} (Biol.), the fancied production of living organisms without previously existing parents from inorganic matter, or from decomposing organic matter, a notion which at one time had many supporters; abiogenesis. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spontaneous generation — Spontaneous Spon*ta ne*ous (sp[o^]n*t[=a] n[ e]*[u^]s), a. [L. spontaneus, fr. sponte of free will, voluntarily.] 1. Proceeding from natural feeling, temperament, or disposition, or from a native internal proneness, readiness, or tendency,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spontaneous generation — spontaneous generation. См. биопоэз. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • spontaneous generation — n ABIOGENESIS * * * the discredited concept of the development of living organisms from nonliving matter …   Medical dictionary

  • spontaneous generation — n. the theory, now discredited, that living organisms can originate in nonliving matter independently of other living matter; abiogenesis …   English World dictionary

  • spontaneous generation — Biol. abiogenesis. [1650 60] * * * ▪ biology also called  Abiogenesis,         the hypothetical process by which living organisms develop from nonliving matter; also, the archaic theory that utilizes this process to explain the origin of life.… …   Universalium

  • spontaneous generation — noun Date: 1665 abiogenesis …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • spontaneous generation — Abiogenesis …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • spontaneous generation — (spon ta ne us) The hypothesis that living organisms can arise from nonliving matter …   Dictionary of microbiology

  • spontaneous generation — noun the fancied production of living organisms without previously existing parents from inorganic matter, or from decomposing organic matter, a notion which at one time had many supporters; abiogenesis …   Wiktionary

  • spontaneous generation — noun historical the supposed production of living organisms from non living matter …   English new terms dictionary

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