Found 2 items, similar to Spontaneous generation.
English → English
Definition: spontaneous generation
n : a hypothetical organic phenomenon by which living organisms
are created from nonliving matter [syn: abiogenesis
English → English
Definition: Spontaneous generation
, n. [OE. generacioun, F.
g['e]n['e]ration, fr.L. generatio.]
1. The act of generating or begetting; procreation, as of
2. Origination by some process, mathematical, chemical, or
vital; production; formation; as, the generation of
sounds, of gases, of curves, etc.
3. That which is generated or brought forth; progeny;
4. A single step or stage in the succession of natural
descent; a rank or remove in genealogy. Hence: The body of
those who are of the same genealogical rank or remove from
an ancestor; the mass of beings living at one period;
also, the average lifetime of man, or the ordinary period
of time at which one rank follows another, or father is
succeeded by child, usually assumed to be one third of a
century; an age.
This is the book of the generations of Adam. --Gen.
Ye shall remain there [in Babylon] many years, and
for a long season, namely, seven generations.
All generations and ages of the Christian church.
5. Race; kind; family; breed; stock.
Thy mother's of my generation; what's she, if I be a
6. (Geom.) The formation or production of any geometrical
magnitude, as a line, a surface, a solid, by the motion,
in accordance with a mathematical law, of a point or a
magnitude; as, the generation of a line or curve by the
motion of a point, of a surface by a line, a sphere by a
7. (Biol.) The aggregate of the functions and phenomene which
Note: There are four modes of generation in the animal
kingdom: scissiparity or by fissiparous generation,
gemmiparity or by budding, germiparity or by germs, and
oviparity or by ova.
(Biol.), alternation of sexual with
asexual generation, in which the products of one process
differ from those of the other, -- a form of reproduction
common both to animal and vegetable organisms. In the
simplest form, the organism arising from sexual generation
produces offspiring unlike itself, agamogenetically.
These, however, in time acquire reproductive organs, and
from their impregnated germs the original parent form is
reproduced. In more complicated cases, the first series of
organisms produced agamogenetically may give rise to
others by a like process, and these in turn to still other
generations. Ultimately, however, a generation is formed
which develops sexual organs, and the original form is
(Biol.), the fancied production of
living organisms without previously existing parents from
inorganic matter, or from decomposing organic matter, a
notion which at one time had many supporters; abiogenesis.
(sp[o^]n*t[=a]"n[-e]*[u^]s), a. [L.
spontaneus, fr. sponte of free will, voluntarily.]
1. Proceeding from natural feeling, temperament, or
disposition, or from a native internal proneness,
readiness, or tendency, without constraint; as, a
spontaneous gift or proposition.
2. Proceeding from, or acting by, internal impulse, energy,
or natural law, without external force; as, spontaneous
motion; spontaneous growth.
3. Produced without being planted, or without human labor;
as, a spontaneous growth of wood.
, combustion produced in a substance
by the evolution of heat through the chemical action of
its own elements; as, the spontaneous combustion of waste
matter saturated with oil.
. (Biol.) See under Generation
Syn: Voluntary; uncompelled; willing.
. What is voluntary is the
result of a volition, or act of choice; it therefore
implies some degree of consideration, and may be the
result of mere reason without excited feeling. What is
spontaneous springs wholly from feeling, or a sudden
impulse which admits of no reflection; as, a
spontaneous burst of applause. Hence, the term is also
applied to things inanimate when they are produced
without the determinate purpose or care of man.
“Abstinence which is but voluntary fasting, and . . .
exercise which is but voluntary labor.”
Spontaneous joys, where nature has its play,
The soul adopts, and owns their firstborn away.
[1913 Webster] -- Spon*ta"ne*ous*ly
, adv. --