Definition of viviparous in English:

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Pronunciation: /vɪˈvɪp(ə)rəs/
Pronunciation: /vʌɪˈvɪp(ə)rəs/


1 Zoology (Of an animal) bringing forth live young which have developed inside the body of the parent. Compare with oviparous and ovoviviparous.
Example sentences
  • The viviparous quadrupeds - literally means four-footed mammals bearing living offspring.
  • These may be viviparous, in which case the mother's body provides nourishment to the embryo, or ovoviviparous, in which case the eggs develop without additional nourishment inside the mother.
  • Depending on environmental conditions, it can shift from viviparous to oviparous reproduction, with production of encysted and dehydrated embryos.
2 Botany (Of a plant) reproducing from buds which form plantlets while still attached to the parent plant, or from seeds which germinate within the fruit.
Example sentences
  • Evidence of a carotenoid mutant of rice was suggested by the phenotype of several mutants for which viviparous seeds germinated into albino seedlings.
  • Two new viviparous mutants showed some signs of precocious germination but did not emerge fully on the cob.



Pronunciation: /ˌvɪvɪˈparɪti/
Example sentences
  • Oviparity with free-swimming larvae is the most common, but direct terrestrial development and viviparity (with attendant internal fertilization) are known in toads as well.
  • The evolution of viviparity, which frees the mother from having to deposit eggs on land, and the tailfirst birth of the young imply that Carsosaurus was well on its way to a more fully aquatic lifestyle.
  • Direct development and viviparity have evolved in all three groups of Lissamphibia: frogs, salamanders and caecilians.


Example sentences
  • Whether females will reproduce oviparously or viviparously can be determined by the colour of the eggs in the uterus.
  • After several months of gestation the young are produced viviparously and the female carries them around on her back for a week or so, beyond their first instar stage.
  • Tiger Sharks reproduce viviparously, which means that like mammals, the give birth to live young that have been nourished by a placenta.




Mid 17th century: from Latin viviparus (from vivus 'alive' + -parus 'bearing') + -ous.

  • viper from early 16th century:

    Some vipers give birth to live young which have hatched from eggs within the parent's body, whereas the eggs of most snakes are laid before they hatch. The name viper derives from the fact they are viviparous (‘producing live young’ M17th), coming from Latin vivus ‘alive’, as in vivisection (early 18th century), and parere ‘to bring forth’, the source of parent (Late Middle English). The phrase a viper in your bosom, ‘a person you have helped but who has behaved treacherously towards you’, comes from one of Aesop's fables in which a viper reared close to a person's chest eventually bites its nurturer. See also adder, snake

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: viv¦ip¦ar|ous

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