capillary

1 of 2

adjective

cap·​il·​lary ˈka-pə-ˌler-ē How to pronounce capillary (audio)
-ˌle-rē,
 British usually  kə-ˈpi-lə-rē
1
a
: 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

2 of 2

noun

plural capillaries
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
Activating receptors involved in collagen production, blood vessel and capillary growth and the inhibition of inflammatory cytokines. Leslie Baumann, Miami Herald, 26 Jan. 2024 There is an initial inward flow from the heated slide to the cooler top of the drop, balanced by an outward pull from capillary action. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, 2 Oct. 2023 Needle valves can fine-tune the amount going in; capillary tubing (with an inner diameter as narrow as a pin) will really slow it down. Amy Barth, Discover Magazine, 3 May 2023 The endothelial cells that make up the capillary walls are pinned tightly together by structures called tight junctions. Yasemin Saplakoglu, Quanta Magazine, 20 June 2023 In 1893, Dutch physiologist Willem Einthoven refined the capillary electrometer to show the voltage graph of a heartbeat cycle and the cycle’s five distinct deflections. IEEE Spectrum, 29 Jan. 2021 The water, which is used to regulate plants’ metabolic functions and ability to grow, enters the plant through the roots and travels upward with the help of capillary action, sort of like the plant equivalent of a pumping heart. Abby Wilson, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 Sep. 2023 To see if their model contained capillary fenestrations, Song et al. visualized the capillary fenestrations with a microscope. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 24 Jan. 2023 The mechanisms of measuring hemoglobin are out of the scope of this column, but air bubbles in the capillary tube and other procedural issues can cause error. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 14 July 2023
Noun
And after multiple instances of unprotected UV exposure, these blood vessels (or capillaries) may become too damaged and have a harder time constricting again, which could lead to more persistent blushing in the long run, Dr. Bodemer explains.2 Our bad! Jenna Ryu, SELF, 11 Oct. 2023 Petechiae are little red dots that appear on light skin when tiny blood vessels, called capillaries, bleed under the skin. Barbara Brody, Health, 31 Oct. 2023 Instead the blood flows from the aorta into a mesh of capillaries called a rete mirabile--Latin for miraculous net. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 Feet tingled, fingers pulsed, capillaries dilated and danced. Dan Greene, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 This occurs by blood capillaries growing through old bone, which is dissolved and replaced by new bone. Roger S. Seymour, Discover Magazine, 5 Oct. 2023 High-altitude cerebral edema is a fancy way of saying someone’s brain capillaries have begun to leak due to hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation. Allie Conti, Field & Stream, 27 Sep. 2023 Aerobic exercise increases the number and size of mitochondria (which use oxygen to create energy) and causes your muscle capillaries (which supply your muscles with oxygen-rich blood) to grow, per new research in Statpearls. Megan Falk, Women's Health, 4 Sep. 2023 The Chinese authorities like to call small businesses the capillaries of the economy. Li Yuan, New York Times, 29 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'capillary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

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

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Noun

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near capillary

Cite this Entry

“Capillary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capillary. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

capillary

1 of 2 adjective
cap·​il·​lary ˈkap-ə-ˌler-ē How to pronounce capillary (audio)
1
: having a long slender form and a very small inner diameter
a capillary tube
2
: of or relating to capillaries or capillarity

capillary

2 of 2 noun
plural capillaries
: a capillary tube
especially : any of the tiny blood vessels connecting the small arteries and veins

Medical Definition

capillary

1 of 2 adjective
cap·​il·​lary
ˈkap-ə-ˌler-ē, British usually kə-ˈpil-ə-rē
1
a
: 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

2 of 2 noun
plural capillaries
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

More from Merriam-Webster on capillary

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!