cell theory

noun

: a theory in biology that includes one or both of the statements that the cell is the fundamental structural and functional unit of living matter and that the organism is composed of autonomous cells with its properties being the sum of those of its cells

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Mukherjee recounts the beginnings of cell theory among 19th-century European scientists and the growing consensus that the cell is the fundamental unit of life in plants and animals. Siri Hustvedt, Washington Post, 24 Oct. 2022 Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and the cell theory, the observation that organismic life consists of one or more cells, the atoms of biology. Christof Koch, Scientific American, 6 Oct. 2021 Long ago, cell theory was a new and revolutionary way to look more closely at life, and scientists moved animals to one group and plants to another based on the presence of the cellulose cell wall. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 15 Nov. 2019 Interested in research more than treatment, Cajal turned to histology, or cell theory, a discipline that had flowered since the introduction of powerful microscopes in the 1830s. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, 6 June 2018

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

Word History

First Known Use

1843, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cell theory was in 1843

Dictionary Entries Near cell theory

Cite this Entry

“Cell theory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cell%20theory. Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

Kids Definition

cell theory

noun
: a general statement in biology that all living things consist of cells each of which has come from a previously existing cell

Medical Definition

cell theory

noun
: a theory in biology that includes one or both of the statements that the cell is the fundamental structural and functional unit of living matter and that the organism is composed of autonomous cells with its properties being the sum of those of its cells

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