Definition of polymorphism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌpälēˈmôrfizəm/


1The condition of occurring in several different forms: the complexity and polymorphism of human cognition
1.1 Biology The occurrence of different forms among the members of a population or colony, or in the life cycle of an individual organism.
Example sentences
  • Many of the 5000 or so bryozoan species exhibit polymorphism.
  • In the subclass Hexacorallia, polymorphism of polyps in colonies is unknown, so for this group, variation in life cycles simply involves fission.
  • Examples of the concept include Integration and polymorphism: degree of autonomy of individual versus integration of specialized individuals, relative degrees of fitness (Boardman and Cheetham, 1973; Schopf, 1973; Bates and Kirk, 1985; Pitelka and Ashmun, 1985; Mackie, 1986).
1.2 Genetics The presence of genetic variation within a population, upon which natural selection can operate.
Example sentences
  • Double reduction may play a significant role in plant evolution and the maintenance of genetic polymorphism in natural populations.
  • A common goal of population genetic investigations is to explain the fate of genetic polymorphism within a species.
  • Future clinical trials may be aimed at specific patient populations determined by genetic polymorphism and other risk factors.
1.3 Biochemistry The occurrence of a number of alternative forms within a section of a nucleic acid or protein molecule.
Example sentences
  • To analyze sequences for neutrality, we performed tests based on protein polymorphism only.
  • Histograms of allelic frequencies revealed strikingly different patterns of polymorphism among loci.
  • The large number of loci investigated in this study allowed us to search for possible causes of different levels of polymorphism among loci.
1.4 Computing A feature of a programming language that allows routines to use variables of different types at different times.
Example sentences
  • Late binding in addition to data types provides a needed aspect to allow polymorphism or the choosing of an object's method implementation at run-time.
  • RMI uses object serialization to marshal and unmarshal parameters and does not truncate types, supporting true object-oriented polymorphism.
  • The doubling-up of parentheses in the way Verity describes is nothing more or less than an early form of polymorphism, as functions can also be seen as virtual arrays of infinite values.



Pronunciation: /ˌpälēˈmôrfəs/
Example sentences
  • In short, I can't decide whether or not I'm a congenital liberal, who found a vent to come out through, or a polymorphous soul which took on the first identity it found to be coherent.
  • All manner of mouth noise, acoustic instruments and polymorphous percussion make up its rainbow plumage, essential during mating season.
  • The polymorphous nature of identity and the choices we can make about who we are at any given time are some of the great liberations of our age.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pol·y·mor·phism

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