Definition of diatom in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈdīəˌtäm/


A single-celled alga that has a cell wall of silica. Many kinds are planktonic, and extensive fossil deposits have been found.
  • Class Bacillariophyceae, division Chromophycota or Heterokontophyta (or phylum Bacillariophyta, kingdom Protista)
Example sentences
  • From single-celled algae called diatoms to the story of a man who plants acorns, IDFuel reminds us that inspiration for design is all around us.
  • The slime molds are now known to be a mixture of three or four unrelated groups, and the oomycetes are now classified in the Chromista, with the diatoms and brown algae.
  • Algae, diatoms, dinoflagellates, and photosynthetic bacteria all belong to this group of organisms.



Pronunciation: /ˌdīədəˈmāSHəs/
Example sentences
  • Although diatoms are universal in fresh and sea water, they achieve greater importance in high-latitude oceanic areas, as well as in some continental margin basins where they form diatomaceous ooze.
  • Massive, bioturbated terrigenous silty clay and diatomaceous mud dominate sedimentation in the distal ice-shelf environment.
  • ‘The bottom appeared light and clear, a waste of firm diatomaceous [algae-skeleton] ooze,’ said Piccard.


Mid 19th century: from modern Latin Diatoma (genus name), from Greek diatomos 'cut in two', from diatemnein 'to cut through'.

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.