Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.


Spending different stages of the life cycle on different, usually unrelated hosts. Used of parasites.

[hetero- + Greek oikiā, house; see weik- in Indo-European roots + -ous.]

het′er·oe′cism (-sĭz′əm) n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˌhɛt əˈri sɪz əm)

the development of different stages of a parasitic species on different host plants.
[1870–75; heter- + Greek oik(ía) house + -ism]
het`er•oe′cious (-ʃəs) adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.