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

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 ElevateBio incubates, launches, and operates biotech companies focused on cell and gene therapy. Anissa Gardizy, BostonGlobe.com, 4 Aug. 2022 The most illuminating and moving discussion takes place between these men in a prison cell. Richard Kuipers, Variety, 27 July 2022 The bar succumbed to the pandemic and the arrest of one of its owners, a woman who could spend several years in a prison cell because of a trip to Washington. Staff, cleveland, 22 July 2022 But there’s no indication that the remains of McAfee, who was found dead in a Barcelona prison cell in June 2021, are in the United States. Brieanna J. Frank, USA TODAY, 8 July 2022 He was taken to a detention facility and processed for his arrest before receiving medical attention for his injuries in a prison cell, records show. Taylor Hartz, Hartford Courant, 7 July 2022 From inside a prison cell, after he was denied bail in another of the NSL’s deviations from Hong Kong’s common-law tradition. WSJ, 1 July 2022 At the museum, visitors are invited to stand in a replica of a prison cell created from the memory of a victim who was raped and tortured during the regime. New York Times, 7 June 2022 For a man locked in a prison cell in a country that (like the United States) is not known for treating its prisoners particularly well, Alexei Navalny manages to keep busy. Jordan Michael Smith, The New Republic, 24 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near cell

Celite

cell

cella

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Statistics for cell

Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cell. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for cell

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

More from Merriam-Webster on cell

Nglish: Translation of cell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cell for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cell

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