From symbiosis +‎ -otic, from Ancient Greek συμβίωσις (sumbíōsis), from σύν (sún, with) + βίος (bíos, life).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌsɪm.baɪˈɒt.ɪk/, /ˌsɪm.biˈɒt.ɪk/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌsɪm.baɪˈɑt.ɪk/, /ˌsɪm.biˈɑt.ɪk/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɒtɪk


symbiotic (not comparable)

  1. (ecology) Of, or relating to symbiosis; living together.
    A lichen is a fungus with symbiotic algae among its cells.
    • 2014 April 5, “Quite interesting: A quietly intriguing column from the brains behind QI, the BBC quiz show. This week; QI orchids you not”, in The Daily Telegraph (Weekend), page W22:
      Orchids rely on fungi to reproduce. Their tiny seeds don't have any on-board nutrients (like beans and apples) and will not germinate until they are infected by a symbiotic fungus which supplies them with food. Known as a protocorm, this tiny orchid-fungus ball grows, turns green and eventually starts to photosynthesise.
  2. Of a relationship with mutual benefit between two individuals or organisms.

Usage notesEdit

Although the biologic meaning of symbiotic strictly refers to "living together", regardless of the nature of the relationship, in casual speech the word typically implies a beneficial relationship.


Derived termsEdit

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symbiotic (plural symbiotics)

  1. (astronomy) symbiotic star