any of a class (Bacillariophyceae) of microscopic algae (division Chromophycota), one-celled or in colonies, whose cell walls consist of interlocking parts and valves and contain silica: diatoms are a source of food for all kinds of marine life
Origin of diatomModern Latin diatoma from Classical Greek diatomos, cut in two from diatemnein, to cut through from dia-, through + temnein, to cut: see -tomy
Any of various microscopic one-celled or colonial heterokonts of the class Bacillariophyceae that are photosynthetic, have a silica cell wall made up of two interlocking parts, and form an important component of phytoplankton.
Origin of diatomNew Latin diatoma from Greek diatomos cut in half from diatemnein to cut in half dia- dia- temnein to cut ; see tem- in Indo-European roots.
From Ancient Greek διά (dia, “through”) + τέμνειν (temnein, “to cut”), i.e., "cut in half"