Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

From my experience on SE sites, I believe this is the right site to ask this question under "terminology".

I've been trying to find out whether English has one-word verbs for "undergo mitosis" and "undergo meiosis". I haven't been able to find confirmation on Google, but my linguistic imagination is limited, and I may have failed to google the right things.

Could you tell me if there are such verbs in common use in biology? I mean, if such verbs exist, can I find them in modern biology books or papers?

share|improve this question
How about "divide" or even "multiply" (if you include the entire cell cycle)? Those are generic terms, but the process is called cell division. And minor pet peeve of mine: "Google" isn't a verb... – jello Aug 23 '12 at 3:16
@jello Thank you. As for "google", sorry, but it is. – ymar Aug 23 '12 at 9:11
What's wrong with "to undergo mitosis"? – nico Aug 23 '12 at 11:03
@nico Nothing is wrong with that. I just wanted to know if there's a shorter way of saying this. – ymar Aug 23 '12 at 11:45
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm actually not sure myself. If I were to use something, I would go with "Mitos'd" and "Meios'd".

However, you may not win over many fans, depending on the audience. If it's with students or maybe a professor, you could get away with shortening the processes. If it's in any formal setting, be as precise and descriptive as possible. It's not a lot of trouble to be more accurate and add "underwent" to the sentence.

share|improve this answer
I agree - I do not recall seeing a verb for these actions, so in a paper or report use the actual terminology. But during discussions I'm sure people will get your meaning if you shorten the terms to "mitose" or "mitosed", or something. – Luke Aug 23 '12 at 8:42

Languages evolve on their own when they need to, you should embrace it rather than worrying about some language stickler telling you made a typo.

I think everyone would know what you mean by "meios" and "mitos", and it might catch on. I'm not advocating slang, but given the opaque jargon I see scientists making up every day, I'd advocate streamlining the terminology before someone invents some abominable acronym for a clumsy phrase built around "undergoes meiosis".

share|improve this answer
got here by searching whether "mitose" is a word. – Gordon Nov 16 '15 at 22:48

Mitosis as a process does not have a verb form. However, as a process, there is an adjective; you could describe cells that undergo mitosis as mitotic.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.