We previously showed that the phenotypes of adipocyte progenitors and macrophages were close. Using functional analyses and microarray technology, we first tested whether this intriguing relationship was specific to adipocyte progenitors or could be shared with other progenitors. Measurements of phagocytic activity and gene profiling analysis of different progenitor cells revealed that the latter hypothesis should be retained. These results encouraged us to pursue and to confirm our analysis with a gold-standard stem cell population, embryonic stem cells or ESC. The transcriptomic profiles of ESC and macrophages were clustered together, unlike differentiated ESC. In addition, undifferentiated ESC displayed higher phagocytic activity than other progenitors, and they could phagocytoze apoptotic bodies. These data suggest that progenitors and stem cells share some characteristics of macrophages. This opens new perspectives on understanding stem cell phenotype and functionalities such as a putative role of stem cells in tissue remodeling by discarding dead cells but also their immunomodulation or fusion properties.