1. A small, usually single-celled reproductive body that is resistant to adverse environmental conditions and is capable of growing into a new organism, produced especially by certain fungi, algae, protozoans, and nonseedbearing plants such as mosses and ferns.
2. A megaspore or microspore.
3. A dormant nonreproductive body formed by certain bacteria often in response to a lack of nutrients, and characteristically being highly resistant to heat, desiccation, and destruction by chemicals or enzymes.
intr.v. spored, spor·ing, spores
To produce spores.
[Greek sporā, seed; see sper- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.