ax·​on | \ ˈak-ˌsän How to pronounce axon (audio) \
variants: or less commonly axone \ ˈak-​ˌsōn How to pronounce axon (audio) \

Definition of axon

: a usually long and single nerve-cell process that usually conducts impulses away from the cell body — see neuron illustration

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Other Words from axon

axonal \ ˈak-​sə-​nᵊl How to pronounce axon (audio) ; ak-​ˈsä-​ How to pronounce axon (audio) , -​ˈsō-​ How to pronounce axon (audio) \ adjective

Examples of axon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The brain also contains white matter, which insulates the axons, helping brain signals travel further, faster and encouraging motor and sensory function. Jenni Gritters, New York Times, "This Is Your Brain on Motherhood," 5 May 2020 This is an important finding because squid nerve cells are immense, with axons sometimes stretching several feet long. Eric Niiler, Wired, "Squids' Gene-Editing Superpowers May Unlock Human Cures," 24 Mar. 2020 Research in several laboratories has found recently that OPCs can respond to neural impulse activity by dividing and maturing into myelin-forming oligodendrocytes, and increasing the number of myelinated axons. R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, "Deeper Insights Emerge into How Memories Form," 18 Nov. 2019 If cortical neurons get a lot of conversation from one eye and none from the other eye, axons representing the first eye grab all the synaptic spaces on the cortical neurons. Quanta Magazine, "The Brain Reshapes Our Malleable Senses to Fit the World," 24 Mar. 2020 Distant neurons talk to each other through axons, which extend, tentacle-like, from the body of one neuron to tickle another with an electrical signal. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "How the human brain stays young even as we age," 19 Nov. 2019 In fact, this kind of skewed distribution has appeared across multiple scales in the brain — in the firing rates of neurons, in the strength of synapses, and in the conduction velocity of axons, for example. Quanta Magazine, "In Brain’s Electrical Ripples, Markers for Memories Appear," 6 Aug. 2019 After 90 days, axons — the nerve fibers that carry neurons’ outgoing messages — had connected with host neurons. Lacy Schley, Discover Magazine, "State of Science: Neurons Are Surprising Researchers With Unexpected Abilities," 15 Jan. 2019 In fact, there are 774 motor axons—the long fibers stretching out from neurons in the spinal cord—that control all the muscle fibers in our biceps. R. Douglas Fields, Scientific American, "Wristband Lets the Brain Control a Computer with a Thought and a Twitch," 27 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'axon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of axon

1895, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for axon

New Latin axon, from Greek axōn

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Cite this Entry

“Axon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for axon


ax·​on | \ ˈak-ˌsän How to pronounce axon (audio) \

Kids Definition of axon

: a long fiber that carries impulses away from a nerve cell


ax·​on | \ ˈak-ˌsän How to pronounce axon (audio) \
variants: also axone \ -​ˌsōn How to pronounce axon (audio) \

Medical Definition of axon

: a usually long and single nerve-cell process that usually conducts impulses away from the cell body

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