1. A due proportion of the several parts of a body to each other; adaptation of the form or dimensions of the several parts of a thing to each other; the union and conformity of the members of a work to the whole.

2. <biology> The law of likeness; similarity of structure; regularity in form and arrangement; orderly and similar distribution of parts, such that an animal may be divided into parts which are structurally symmetrical.

Bilateral symmetry, or two-sidedness, in vertebrates, etc, is that in which the body can be divided into symmetrical halves by a vertical plane passing through the middle; radial symmetry, as in echinoderms, is that in which the individual parts are arranged symmetrically around a central axis; serial symmetry, or zonal symmetry, as in earthworms, is that in which the segments or metameres of the body are disposed in a zonal manner one after the other in a longitudinal axis. This last is sometimes called metamerism.

3. <botany> Equality in the number of parts of the successive circles in a flower. Likeness in the form and size of floral organs of the same kind; regularity. Axis of symmetry.

<geometry> See Axis. Respective symmetry, that disposition of parts in which only the opposite sides are equal to each other.

Origin: L. Symmetria, Gr.; with, together + a measure: cf. F. Symetrie. See Syn-, and Meter rhythm.

(01 Mar 1998)