cell

noun
\ ˈsel How to pronounce cell (audio) \

Definition of cell

1 : a small religious house dependent on a monastery or convent
2a : a one-room dwelling occupied by a solitary person (such as a hermit)
b : a single room (as in a convent or prison) usually for one person
3 : a small compartment, cavity, or bounded space: such as
a : one of the compartments of a honeycomb
b : a membranous area bounded by veins in the wing of an insect
4 : a small usually microscopic mass of protoplasm bounded externally by a semipermeable membrane, usually including one or more nuclei and various other organelles with their products, capable alone or interacting with other cells of performing all the fundamental functions of life, and forming the smallest structural unit of living matter capable of functioning independently
5a(1) : a receptacle containing electrodes and an electrolyte either for generating electricity by chemical action or for use in electrolysis
(2) : fuel cell
b : a single unit in a device for converting radiant energy into electrical energy or for varying the intensity of an electrical current in accordance with radiation (see radiation sense 1)
6 : a unit in a statistical array (see array entry 2 sense 5) (such as a spreadsheet) formed by the intersection of a column and a row
7 : a basic and usually small unit of an organization or movement terrorist cells
8 : a portion of the atmosphere that behaves as a unit a storm cell
9a : any of the small sections of a geographic area of a cellular (see cellular entry 1 sense 3) telephone system

Illustration of cell

Illustration of cell

cell 4 (schematic): A plant, B animal; 1 cell wall, 2 middle lamella, 3 plasma membrane, 4 mitochondrion, 5 vacuole, 6 Golgi apparatus, 7 cytoplasm, 8 nuclear membrane, 9 nucleolus, 10 nucleus, 11 chromatin, 12 endoplasmic reticulum with associated ribosomes, 13 chloroplast, 14 centriole, 15 lysosome

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Examples of cell in a Sentence

The suspect was in the police station's holding cell overnight. his mission was to locate and infiltrate the terrorist cell that was believed to be hiding in the city
Recent Examples on the Web The fuel-cell system is much larger and more complex for a superyacht than a smaller boat. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, "This New Sailing Catamaran Will Be Powered By Yachting’s First Hydrogen Fuel Cell," 28 Apr. 2021 To make those vaccines en masse, fetal cell lines provide a factory to produce these viral delivery mechanisms. Sasha Pezenik, ABC News, "Johnson & Johnson vaccine rekindles religious dilemma over morality of using fetal tissue," 3 Mar. 2021 Several types of cell lines created decades ago using fetal tissue exist and are widely used in medical manufacturing but the cells in them today are clones of the early cells, not the original tissue. Kevin Mcgill, ajc, "Abortion concerns prompt archdiocese warning on vaccine," 2 Mar. 2021 Vaccines less in the public eye are often tested on or made using these cell lines, and no one is the wiser. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "The Facts about the COVID Vaccines and Fetal Cell Lines," 20 Dec. 2020 The controversial fetal cell lines in coronavirus research date back to the 1970s. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Top coronavirus vaccine contenders not developed with aborted fetal cell lines, anti-abortion group reports," 3 Dec. 2020 This is an issue for the J&J vaccine, which used cell lines that originated from fetal cells during research and production. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, "A user’s guide: How to talk to those hesitant about the Covid-19 vaccine," 29 Mar. 2021 Another challenge in the Catholic community has been the debate over research or production of vaccines involving fetal cell lines. Dallas News, "As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens up, fears persist that residents of color will continue to be left behind," 27 Mar. 2021 Some religious conservatives also may want to opt for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines because the Johnson & Johnson vaccines uses fetal cell lines from abortions in its production. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pfizer, Moderna, J&J? Most in Wisconsin won't be given a choice of COVID-19 vaccine — and doctors say that's OK," 17 Mar. 2021

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cell

Middle English, from Old English, religious house and Anglo-French celle hermit's cell, from Latin cella small room; akin to Latin celare to conceal — more at hell

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Time Traveler for cell

Time Traveler

The first known use of cell was before the 12th century

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Statistics for cell

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cell. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for cell

cell

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cell

: a room in a prison, jail, etc., where prisoners live or are kept
: a small room that one person (such as a monk or a nun) lives in
: any one of the very small parts that together form all living things

cell

noun
\ ˈsel How to pronounce cell (audio) \

Kids Definition of cell

1 : a very small room (as in a prison or a monastery)
2 : the basic structural unit of living things that is made up of cytoplasm enclosed by a membrane and that typically includes a nucleus and other smaller parts (as mitochondria or chloroplasts) which perform specific functions necessary for life
3 : a small enclosed part or division (as in a honeycomb)
4 : a container with substances which can produce an electric current by chemical action
5 : a device that converts light (as sunlight) that falls on it into electrical energy that is used as a power source

Other Words from cell

celled \ ˈseld \ adjective single-celled

cell

noun
\ ˈsel How to pronounce cell (audio) \

Medical Definition of cell

1 : a small compartment or bounded space
2 : a small usually microscopic mass of protoplasm bounded externally by a semipermeable membrane, usually including one or more nuclei and various nonliving products, capable alone or interacting with other cells of performing all the fundamental functions of life, and forming the smallest structural unit of living matter capable of functioning independently

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