American English

Definition of egg noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a small oval object with a thin hard shell produced by a female bird and containing a young bird; a similar object produced by a female fish, insect, etc. The female sits on the eggs until they hatch. The fish lay thousands of eggs at one time. crocodile eggs Topic CollocationsThe Living Worldanimals animals mate/breed/reproduce/feed (on something) fish/amphibians swim/spawn (= lay eggs) birds fly/migrate/nest/sing insects crawl/fly/bite/sting insects/bees/locusts swarm bees collect/gather nectar/pollen spiders spin/weave a web snakes/lizards shed their skins bears/hedgehogs/frogs hibernate insect larvae grow/develop/pupate an egg/a chick/a larva hatches attract/find/choose a mate produce/release eggs/sperm lay/fertilize/incubate/hatch eggs inhabit a forest/a reef/the coast mark/enter/defend (a) territory stalk/hunt/capture/catch/kill preyplants and fungi trees/plants grow/bloom/blossom/flower a seed germinates/sprouts leaves/buds/roots/shoots appear/develop/form flower buds swell/open a fungus grows/spreads/colonizes something pollinate/fertilize a flower/plant produce/release/spread/disperse pollen/seeds/spores produce/bear fruit develop/grow/form roots/shoots/leaves provide/supply/absorb/extract/release nutrients perform/increase/reduce photosynthesisbacteria and viruses bacteria/microbes/viruses grow/spread/multiply bacteria/microbes live/thrive in/on something bacteria/microbes/viruses evolve/colonize something/cause disease bacteria break something down/convert something (into something) a virus enters/invades something/the body a virus mutates/evolves/replicates (itself) be infected with/contaminated with/exposed to a new strain of a virus/drug-resistant bacteria contain/carry/harbor bacteria/a virus kill/destroy/eliminate harmful/deadly bacteria
  2. 2[countable, uncountable] a bird's egg, especially one from a chicken, that is eaten as food a hard-boiled egg bacon and eggs fried/poached/scrambled eggs Bind the mixture together with a little beaten egg. You have egg on your shirt. egg yolks/whites egg noodles duck/quail eggs a chocolate egg (= made from chocolate in the shape of an egg) see also Easter egg
  3. 3[countable] (in women and female animals) a cell that combines with a sperm to create a baby or young animal synonym ovum The male sperm fertilizes the female egg. an egg donor see also nest egg
  4. Idioms
    a chicken-and-egg situation, problem, etc.
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    a situation in which it is difficult to tell which one of two things was the cause of the other
    a good egg (old-fashioned) (informal)
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    a person who you can rely on to behave well
    have egg on your face (informal)
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    to be made to look stupid They were left with egg on their faces when only ten people showed up.
    kill the goose that lays the golden egg/eggs (saying)
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    to destroy something that would make you rich, successful, etc.
    put all your eggs in one basket
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    to rely on one particular course of action for success rather than giving yourself several different possibilities I applied for seven jobs. I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket.
    you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs (saying)
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    you cannot achieve something important without causing a few small problems
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: egg