Share this entry

Share this page

commensal

Line breaks: com|mens¦al
Pronunciation: /kəˈmɛns(ə)l
 
/
Biology

Definition of commensal in English:

adjective

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.

noun

Back to top  
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.

Origin

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

Derivatives

commensality

1
Pronunciation: /kɒmənˈsalɪti/
noun
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.

Definition of commensal in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day resilient
Pronunciation: rɪˈzɪlɪənt
adjective
able to recoil or spring back into shape…