/ˌapɒpˈtəʊsɪs/, /ˌæ.pəˈtoʊ.sɪs/, /ˌæpəpˈtoʊsəs/
noun, singular
plural – apoptoses

Derived forms

adj. apoptotic
adv. apoptotically


Apotosis is a naturally occurring biochemical event of cell death. It appears in multi-cellular organisms as a part of development and natural growth. Once the process starts, it is carried out until its completion.
The term is not to be confused with necrosis, the event of cell death triggered by traumatic occurrences.

Apoptosis is also known as programmed cell death.


programmed cell death, caspase-mediated cell death, necrobiosis


None found


Since it’s a biological term, apoptosis gets mostly used in medical articles.
Defective apoptotic procedures can lead to a variety of complications. It is believed that certain types of cancer can appear if the regulated process of cell death is somehow hindered or interrupted.

Word origin

From Greek apoptōsis – a falling off, which in turn was formed from ‘apo’ meaning ‘from’ and ‘piptein’ meaning ‘to fall.’
The word presumably entered English (in its modern meaning) around 1970s. More on that can be found in essays below.

Examples of sentences containing ‘apoptosis’