capillary

adjective
cap·​il·​lary | \ ˈka-pə-ˌler-ē How to pronounce capillary (audio) , -ˌle-rē, British usually kə-ˈpi-lə-rē\

Definition of capillary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : resembling a hair especially in slender elongated form capillary leaves
b : having a very small bore a capillary tube
2 : involving, held by, or resulting from surface tension capillary water in the soil
3 : of or relating to capillaries or capillarity

capillary

noun
plural capillaries

Definition of capillary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : 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
2 : a tube (as of glass) having a very small bore

Examples of capillary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Weintraub thinks that lower capillary counts could help indicate the early signs of dementia. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Scientists may have found a better way to spot early signs of dementia: our eyes," 11 July 2019 The Georgia Tech team, however, discovered that the papillae actually curve backward toward the throat, enabling them to exploit surface tension to wick up water via capillary action—the same way plants absorb water from soil. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Science says your cat’s tongue is ideally suited for grooming fur," 28 Dec. 2018 Not everyone, and not everywhere, but there’s been a sea change in the blood of us; one capillary in 20, maybe, carrying affirmation instead of shame, or at least the possibility of it, or at least the illusion. Lindy West, SELF, "The Way We Talk About Bodies Has Changed. What We Do About It Comes Next.," 26 June 2018 Water, the primary enemy, must be kept off the ends of the logs to prevent rot through capillary action. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Developer plans to donate log cabin to Wauwatosa architect to relocate it to North Avenue," 17 Apr. 2018 Micro-structures between their scary scales act like little straws, using the force of capillary action to pull in water from moist sand. National Geographic, "Meet the Beetles that Harvest Fog in the Desert," 7 Apr. 2018 But his ability to synthe-size across disparate fields also has proved a strength, enabling him to trace how energy courses through every capillary of the world's economy. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Meet Vaclav Smil, the man who has quietly shaped how the world thinks about energy," 21 Mar. 2018 From 2014 to the early parts of 2017, this is what happened when parents across America took their children to get lead tests: Often, the first test was a finger stick, known as a capillary test, and parents left with results in hand. Hannah Sparling, Cincinnati.com, "Lead tests for 'millions of kids’ may be wrong?," 10 Jan. 2018 Congrats—you’re a perfectly normal human being with, possibly, a perfectly normal broken capillary. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Broken Capillaries: How to Get Rid of Them Fast," 18 Apr. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun People with cognitive impairment had fewer capillaries in their retina than those who did not. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Scientists may have found a better way to spot early signs of dementia: our eyes," 11 July 2019 An intense, visible, broad-spectrum light that heats and destroys brown spots, melasma, broken capillaries, and sun spots. Megan Gustashaw, Glamour, "I Tried an IPL Treatment to Get Rid of My Sun Spots," 31 Aug. 2019 Mammalian brains are tangled knots of arteries and capillaries, each of which is instrumental in circulating blood (and with it, oxygen and nutrients) throughout the organ. Matthew Shaer, New York Times, "Scientists Are Giving Dead Brains New Life. What Could Go Wrong?," 2 July 2019 In a paper published in Nature Neuroscience in July, the researchers showed that the capillaries form a continuous network. Quanta Magazine, "In Natural Networks, Strength in Loops," 14 Aug. 2013 Blood pressure is the force of blood flow in arteries, veins and capillaries. Minali Nigam, CNN, "Both the "top" and "bottom" blood pressure numbers can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, study says," 18 July 2019 When something is wrong in the brain, the retina could reflect that damage as inflammation damages tiny blood vessels, called capillaries, around its neuronal cells. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Scientists may have found a better way to spot early signs of dementia: our eyes," 11 July 2019 The cells pay a penalty for that streamlining, however: Because of their limited ability to repair the wear and tear of pushing through capillaries, circulating human red cells have a lifespan of only about 120 days. Quanta Magazine, "Icefish Study Adds Another Color to the Story of Blood," 22 Apr. 2019 Mills, in her autopsy report, also noted a skull fracture and petechiae — small dots on the skin caused from bleeding capillaries that can be a sign of strangulation — preceded the gunshot that killed Chase Fleischauer. Mike Longaecker, Twin Cities, "New Richmond, Wis., man found guilty in fatal shooting of 19-year-old son," 13 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'capillary.' 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 capillary

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for capillary

Adjective

French or Latin; French capillaire, from Latin capillaris, from capillus hair

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Statistics for capillary

Time Traveler for capillary

The first known use of capillary was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for capillary

capillary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of capillary

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

capillary

adjective
cap·​il·​lary | \ ˈka-pə-ˌler-ē How to pronounce capillary (audio) \

Kids Definition of capillary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having a long slender form and a small inner diameter a capillary tube
2 : of or relating to capillary action or a capillary

capillary

noun
plural capillaries

Kids Definition of capillary (Entry 2 of 2)

: one of the slender hairlike tubes that are the smallest blood vessels and connect arteries with veins

capillary

adjective
cap·​il·​lary | \ ˈkap-ə-ˌler-ē, British usually kə-ˈpil-ə-rē\

Medical Definition of capillary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : resembling a hair especially in slender elongated form
b : having a very small bore a capillary tube
2 : involving, held by, or resulting from surface tension
3 : of or relating to capillaries or capillarity

capillary

noun
plural capillaries

Medical Definition of capillary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : 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
2 : a capillary tube

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More from Merriam-Webster on capillary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with capillary

Spanish Central: Translation of capillary

Nglish: Translation of capillary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of capillary for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about capillary

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