capillary

adjective
cap·il·lary | \ˈka-pə-ˌler-ē, -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

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 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 In a 2012 study David Cundall of Lehigh University and colleagues found that some species drink via capillary action, the same mechanism by which water climbs from roots to leaves in plants. 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 The page stated the boy was fighting a severe case of arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal connection between arteries and veins that bypasses the capillary system. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "Texas Mom Allegedly Subjected Her Healthy Son, 8, to 323 Doctor Visits and 13 Surgeries," 14 Dec. 2017 This obstruction is referred to as capillary nonperfusion, or macular ischemia. Heather Napolitano, Philly.com, "Struggling with vision loss, she finds new purpose in Philly's Foundation Fighting Blindness," 29 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Their footage, chopped up and YouTubed and GIFed and John Olivered, would be injected into the infinitely subdividing capillaries of social-media outrage in near real time. Charles Homans, New York Times, "The Post-Campaign Campaign of Donald Trump," 9 Apr. 2018 Then other cells cause your capillaries to leak blood plasma; its function is to envelop and slow down the invaders. Houston Chronicle, "YouDocs0514," 13 May 2018 The capillaries on your skin get very adept at closing off so the cold doesn't get allowed into your core. Elias Leight, Billboard, "How Meditation Helped Jon Hopkins Make His Riveting 'Singularity' Album," 4 May 2018 The density of the smallest vessels — capillaries — became comparable to that of young mice. Sharon Begley, STAT, "A dietary supplement makes old mice youthful. But will it work in people?," 22 Mar. 2018 The device takes blood from capillaries rather than veins, takes two to three minutes and is said to be almost painless. Lucette Lagnado, WSJ, "Hospitals Fund Potential Game-Changers in Health Tech," 7 Mar. 2018 The tiny crystals become trapped in the nar- rowness of joints and capillaries and tendons, leading to the inflammation that develops into gouty arthritis. Paul Theroux, Town & Country, "A Royal Pain," 17 June 2013 These crystals — monosodium urate crystals — had lodged in the tiny capillaries of my toe joint, inflaming it. Paul Theroux, Town & Country, "A Royal Pain," 17 June 2013 Your skin has already been steamed to the max during your facial, and adding any more could lead to sensitivity and broken capillaries, Shah explains. 4. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "8 Things You Should Never Do After a Facial," 6 Sep. 2017

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

Last Updated

24 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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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Comments on capillary

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