Definition of commensal in English:

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Pronunciation: /kəˈmensəl/


Relating to or exhibiting commensalism.
Example sentences
  • We saw several fist-sized sea squirts which were bright pink in colour, and only when studying the photographs afterwards noticed that each was attended by a number of well-camouflaged commensal prawns, also pink.
  • The majority of reports came from Europe but resistance in commensal rodents was also documented in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Australia.
  • The outermost layer - the epidermis, is colonised by a raft of commensal bacteria, that is, bacteria that generally don't cause harm to the host.


A commensal organism, such as many bacteria.
Example sentences
  • However, their isolates were from sites such as the nose and hands of the foodhandlers, where these organisms remain as mere commensals.
  • In an editorial review on the relationship of bacteria to lung host defenses, it was suggested that it should be possible to separate the presence of bacteria as commensals in the airway from those causing an infection.
  • It may be that their main metabolic interaction is with bacterial commensals, rather than directly with the insect host.



Pronunciation: /ˌkämenˈsalitē/
Example sentences
  • These matters, in turn, are replicated in the dietary and commensality practices.
  • Specifically, we believe significant shifts in important dimensions of our eating culture - increased snacking frequency, the tendency towards eating alone, and an overall decline in commensality have contributed to much of the current obesity problem.
  • This fact can be a concept for a basis of the criterion to evaluate housing in environmental commensality.


Late 19th century: from medieval Latin commensalis, from com- 'sharing' + mensa 'a table'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: com·men·sal

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