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polymorphism Syllabification: pol·y·mor·phism
Pronunciation: /ˌpälēˈmôrfizəm/

Definition of polymorphism in English:


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: /ˌpälēˈmôrfik/
Example sentences
  • This last approach may under-represent evolutionary steps within those polymorphic taxa.
  • There are 4 common polymorphic forms of factor XIII that differ among ethnic groups.
  • This is a reasonable assumption because of the low frequency of polymorphic sites in the analyzed set of sequences.


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.

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Pronunciation: fôrˈtisəˌmō
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly