Definition of egg noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE////
    ; NAmE NAmE////
    Pregnancy, Parts of animals
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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 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/​harbour (especially US English) harbor bacteria/​a virus kill/​destroy/​eliminate harmful/​deadly bacteria See related entries: Parts of animals
  2. 2   [countable, uncountable] a bird’s egg, especially one from a chicken, that is eaten as food a boiled egg bacon and eggs fried/poached/scrambled eggs Bind the mixture together with a little beaten egg. You've got some egg on your shirt. egg yolks/whites egg noodles ducks’/quails’ eggs a chocolate egg (= made from chocolate in the shape of an egg) see also Easter egg, Scotch 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 related entries: Pregnancy
  4. see also nest egg
    Word Originnoun Middle English (superseding earlier ey, from Old English ǣg): from Old Norse.Extra examples Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg. Crack two eggs into the mixture. Many reptiles bury their eggs. Many women conceive through the use of a donor egg. Only one sperm fertilizes an egg. Separate the eggs, putting the whites to one side. She lays a clutch of four eggs on average. The males stay and guard the eggs. We’re just decorating eggs for the egg hunt. a breakfast of bacon and eggsIdioms
    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
    (British English) something that has some good parts and some bad ones (old-fashioned, informal) a person who you can rely on to behave well
    have/be left with egg on/all over your face
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    (informal) 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
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    (saying) 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’ve applied for several jobs. I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket.
    (as) sure as eggs is eggs
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    (old-fashioned, British English, informal) used to say that something is definitely true
    teach your grandmother to suck eggs
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    (British English, informal) to tell or show somebody how to do something that they can already do well, and probably better than you can
    you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs
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    (saying) you cannot achieve something important without causing a few small problems
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: egg