- a mature sexual reproductive cell, as a sperm or egg, that unites with another cell to form a new organism.
- a haploid germ cell, such as a spermatozoon or ovum, that fuses with another germ cell during fertilization
“sexual protoplasmic body,” 1880, coined 1878 by German cytologist Eduard Strasburger (1844-1912), the widespread attribution to Mendel being apparently erroneous; from Greek gamete “a wife,” gametes “a husband,” from gamein “to take to wife, to marry,” from PIE root *gem(e)- “to marry” (cf. Greek gambros “son-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law;” Sanskrit jamih “brother, sister,” jama daughter-in-law;” Avestan zama-tar “son-in-law;” Latin gener “son-in-law”). Cf. also -gamy. The seventh month of the ancient Attic calendar (corresponding to late January and early February) was Gamelion, “Month of Marriages.”
- A reproductive cell having the haploid number of chromosomes, especially a sperm or egg capable of fusing with a gamete of the opposite sex to produce a fertilized egg.
- A cell whose nucleus unites with that of another cell to form a new organism. A gamete contains only a single (haploid) set of chromosomes. Animal egg and sperm cells, the nuclei carried in grains of pollen, and egg cells in plant ovules are all gametes. Also called germ cell reproductive cell, sex cell See Note at mitosis.