1819, "having the character or being in the condition of an embryo; pertaining or relating to an embryo or embryos," from medical Latin embryonem (see embryo) + -ic. Figurative use, "rudimentary, incomplete, inchoate" is from 1856. Earlier adjectives were embryonal (1650s), embryonate (1690s). Related: Embryonically.
updated on September 13, 2020