adjective \ˈka-pə-ˌler-ē, -ˌle-rē, British usually kə-ˈpi-lə-rē\

Definition of CAPILLARY

a :  resembling a hair especially in slender elongated form <capillary leaves>
b :  having a very small bore <a capillary tube>
:  involving, held by, or resulting from surface tension <capillary water in the soil>
:  of or relating to capillaries or capillarity


French or Latin; French capillaire, from Latin capillaris, from capillus hair
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Anatomy Terms

bilateral symmetry, carotid, cartilage, dorsal, entrails, prehensile, renal, solar plexus, supine, thoracic, ventral

Rhymes with CAPILLARY

actuary, adversary, airy-fairy, ancillary, antiquary, apiary, arbitrary, aviary, axillary, bacillary, beriberi, bestiary, biliary, black raspberry, Bloody Mary, boysenberry, breviary, budgetary, calamari, calamary, candleberry, Canterbury, carpellary, cassowary, catenary, cautionary, cavitary, cemetery, centenary, certiorari, checkerberry, chinaberry, cometary, commentary, commissary, condottiere, coralberry, corollary, coronary, culinary, customary, dictionary, dietary, dignitary, dromedary, dysentery, elderberry, emissary, estuary, farkleberry, February, formulary, fragmentary, fritillary, functionary, funerary, honorary, huckleberry, intermarry, janissary, January, lamasery, lapidary, lectionary, legendary, legionary, lingonberry, literary, loganberry, luminary, mammillary, mandatary, maxillary, medullary, mercenary, miliary, military, millenary, milliary, millinery, missionary, momentary, monastery, mortuary, necessary, ordinary, ossuary, partridgeberry, pensionary, pigmentary, planetary, Pondicherry, prebendary, presbytery, pulmonary, quaternary, red mulberry, reliquary, rowanberry, salivary, salmonberry, salutary, sanctuary, sanguinary, sanitary, secondary, secretary, sedentary, seminary, silverberry, solitary, sour cherry, stationary, stationery, statuary, subcontrary, sublunary, sugarberry, sumptuary, syllabary, temporary, tertiary, thimbleberry, Tipperary, Tom and Jerry, topiary, tributary, tutelary, Typhoid Mary, unitary, urinary, vestiary, Virgin Mary, visionary, voluntary, vulnerary, Waterbury, whortleberry, winterberry



: one of the many very small tubes that carry blood within the body : the smallest kind of blood vessel

plural capillar·ies

Full Definition of CAPILLARY

:  a minute thin-walled vessel of the body; especially :  any of the smallest blood vessels connecting arterioles with venules and forming networks throughout the body
:  a tube (as of glass) having a very small bore

First Known Use of CAPILLARY


Other Anatomy Terms

bilateral symmetry, carotid, cartilage, dorsal, entrails, prehensile, renal, solar plexus, supine, thoracic, ventral


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of the minute blood vessels that form networks where the arterial and venous circulation (see artery, vein) meet for exchange of oxygen, nutrients, and wastes with body tissues. Capillaries are just large enough for red blood cells to pass through in single file. Their thin walls are semipermeable, allowing small molecules to pass through in both directions. The smallest lymphatic vessels and minute bile channels in the liver are also called capillaries.


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