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a combining form with the meaning “having gametes or reproductive organs” of the kind specified by the initial element:heterogamous; also forming adjectives corresponding to nouns ending in -gamy: endogamous.
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Origin of -gamous

From Greek -gamos “marrying”; see -ous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -gamous mean?

The combining form -gamous is used like a suffix meaning “having gametes or reproductive organs.” Gametes are a mature sexual reproductive cell, such as a sperm or egg, that unites with another cell to form a new organism.

The form -gamous is also used to form adjectives related to the form -gamy, which means “marriage.” In this sense, -gamous means roughly “married.”

The form -gamous is often used in scientific terms, especially in biology. It comes from Greek -gamos, meaning “marrying.”

What are variants of -gamous?

While -gamous doesn’t have any variants, it is related to the form -gamy, as in endogamy. Additional combining forms of the same general origin include gamet-, gameto-, and gamo-. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use articles for the forms.

Examples of -gamous

An example of a word you may have encountered that features -gamous is monogamous, “practicing or advocating for marriage with only one person at a time.” Monogamous comes from Greek monógamos, which uses the equivalent form of -gamous.

The form mono- means “single” or “one,” from Greek mónos. As we have seen, one of the meanings of -gamous is “married.” Monogamous literally translates to “married to one (person).”

What are some words that use the combining form -gamous?

What are some other forms that -gamous may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form bi- means “two.” Given the meaning of -gamous, what does bigamous mean?

British Dictionary definitions for -gamous


adj combining form
denoting marrying or uniting sexuallymonogamous

Word Origin for -gamous

from Greek gamos; see -gamy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for -gamous


Having a specified number of mates:monogamous.
Having a specified kind of reproduction or reproductive organs:heterogamous.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.