(1)   Process in which an unfertilized egg develops into a new individual; common among insects and some other arthropods
(2)   Human conception without fertilization by a man


(from ) + + (from )


    1. Reproduction by the development of a single gamete (viz. an ovum or ovule) without fertilisation by a gamete of the opposite sex; cf. , .
      • 2008 October 15, "Virgin Shark Gives Birth", AFP via Australian Broadcasting Corporation:
        Scientists say the birth is the second confirmed instance of a shark being conceived by , a process in which an unfertilised egg develops into a new individual.
    2. Asexual reproduction in toto; agamogenesis.
    3. An instance or example of parthenogenesis.
  1. figurative uses of the biologic senses
    • 1870: James Russell Lowell, Among My Books, series I, Shakespeare Once More, page 223
      We may learn, to be sure, plenty of lessons from Shakespeare. We are not likely to have kingdoms to divide, crowns foretold us by weird sisters, a father’s death to avenge, or to kills our wives from jealously ; but Lear may teach us to draw the line more clearly between a wise generosity and a loose-handed weakness of giving ; Macbeth, how one sin involves another, and forever another, by a fatal , and that the key which unlocks forbidden doors to our will or passion leaves a stain on the hand, the may not be so dark as blood, but that will not out ; Hamlet, that all the noblest gifts of person, temperament, and mind slip like sand through the grasp of an infirm purpose ; Othello, that the perpetual silt of some one weakness, the eddies of a suspicious temper depositing their one impalpable layer after another, may build up a shoal on which an heroic life and an otherwise magnanimous nature may bilge and go to pieces.
  2. Virgin birth, in reference to the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.

            • Usage notes

              • Whereas this word’s biologic and figurative senses are properly understood as deriving from the prefix in its biologic-botanic sense (stressing an absence of fertilisation), the theologic sense can only be understood as employing the prefix in the original sense of “virgin”, since parthenogenetic offspring are always female.