Diatom meaning

dīə-tŏm
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Any of various one-celled aquatic organisms of the class Bacillariophyceae that have hard bivalve shells (called frustules) composed mostly of silica, can perform photosynthesis, and often live in colonies. They make up a large portion of the marine plankton and are an important food source for many aquatic animals. The skeletal remains of diatoms are the main constituent of diatomite.
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A group of minute unicellular algae having a siliceous covering of great delicacy, now categorized as class Diatomophyceae or division Bacillariophyta, formerly all included in the order Diatomaceae, now obsolete.
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Origin of diatom

  • New Latin diatoma from Greek diatomos cut in half from diatemnein to cut in half dia- dia- temnein to cut tem- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Ancient Greek διά (dia, “through”) + τέμνειν (temnein, “to cut”), i.e., "cut in half"

    From Wiktionary